I’m a student who’s been working part-time for a year and a half. But I’m not treating this like part-time work. I feel an attitude of “all hands on deck” within a highly energetic environment.
GU The Mall Sendai Nagamachi Store yumoku
Congratulations on your Best Employee Award! What factors contributed to your win?
I am a university student and I’ve been working part-time for a year and a half. But I’m not treating this like part-time work. There are many highly passionate full-time employees at our branch at THE MALL in Nagamachi, Sendai. Working in their midst, I have been inspired by that passion, and I learned the term “all hands sales.” When our sales numbers dipped, all the staff got together to give serious consideration to what could be done. I have a competitive side so I didn’t want to be second even to the full-time employees; any time I had a free moment I would go out to the sales floor and proactively engage with customers (selling to customers, explaining characteristics of new products etc.) and distributed baskets to customers who were waiting on products. I simultaneously tried to grasp an understanding of the sales floor as a whole, and by proactively communicating to other staff members I created more opportunities to receive feedback. I’m happy if I know I’m contributing even a little to the energy of the store.
Your reason for joining GU
When I was searching for new part-time work, I wanted a job that had something to do with fashion, which I was interested in anyway, and went to take a look at this GU location that was close to my university. I was astounded by the high-energy atmosphere. I saw one staff member interacting with a customer, and the staff member was acting completely naturally and had a brilliant smile. I had always been averse to that kind of customer service, so I decided I wanted to work there so I could be influenced for the better.
Things that are important to you in your work
That would be to always put the customer first regardless of the circumstances, and to see things through to the end. Of course it’s a given that I’ll do things like tidying up the sales floor when it’s messy so that our customers can shop comfortably, but there’s one incident that stands out in my mind. A customer was looking for a particular item, and although it wasn’t on the floor, our system showed that we had one in stock. After a frenzied search in the stock room, I was able to get the item to the customer. The customer was very happy, and since then I have felt like I really want to do everything I can to meet our customers’ requests, no matter the circumstances.
What gives you a sense of fulfillment in your work?
I feel the greatest satisfaction in knowing we met our day’s sales goals when we close up shop. As best I can, I try to stay on top of our real-time sales while I’m on the sales floor, and I proactively share that information with other staff. It boosts my own motivation, and I become infused with extra energy when trying to meet our sales goals.
What's something you focus on doing to make your customers happy?
While enthusiastically interacting with customers, I am constantly making adjustments to more clearly communicate product characteristics and locations of items. A while back, products featuring “high volume sleeves / low-cut nape” went on sale, so I arranged products in a way that allowed me to explain their appeal in my own way, using phrases like “the decollete looks lovely.” And when large t-shirts were trending for men, I focused on being able to explain the trend in a natural way. Because I’m proactively and energetically engaging with customers, I feel like they approach me more frequently as well.
What are your dreams for the future?
I’m currently in my third year at university and am coming up on the time when I need to seriously think about job hunting for after graduation. In college I am studying IT, information management, and design, and am working on website creation and application development. I am particularly interested in virtual reality, which I hope to be involved with by working in design or a similar area. It may sound like a dream that is far removed from my current work, but at GU I have learned some important things that tie into this dream. Previously, I had never been comfortable around people with different values than me, and I distanced myself from them. But by working at GU and seeing things from the customers’ perspective, I’ve adopted an accepting attitude of “it’s very interesting how there are all different kinds of people.”
It is extremely important to see things from the customer’s perspective in the realm of design and software development as well. I wish to become an empathetic person who is accepting of different people’s emotions and ideas.