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We all have retail stories to tell, and while our stories are all unique, they inevitably follow one of two storylines.  The first storyline sees a haggard shopper (often, you) find a store associate who goes above and beyond the call of duty to solve a problem and save the sale.  The second storyline sees the haggard shopper (again, typically you) experience a retail nightmare, and inevitably, the store associate is the cause.  Our retail stories are never about the product that we bought – those are product stories.  Instead, our retail stories are about the experience that we had, and every time, that experience is shaped by the interaction with the associate.  The associate is the hero or the villain, and the difference is predicated on his or her behavior.

Even though we all know how central the associate is to the customer experience, retailers are investing relatively little in helping the associate deliver a better experience.  Instead, investment is going into technology.  While some of that investment is necessary to meet the competition or gain an advantage, the pendulum has swung too far.  This is largely because, while technology projects can be hard, influencing your associates to deliver a better experience is harder.  Or, at least, it appears to be harder.

It is with this in mind that we decided to write Your Workforce is Your Brand.  This isn’t a soft-and-squishy human resources book.  Nor is it a diatribe on organizational development or effective ways to implement training programs.  And, while our day jobs are as workforce management consultants, you’ll find that this isn’t a how-to on implementing a WFM system. Your Workforce is your Brand offers retail operators ideas and anecdotes that will hopefully inspire you to invest more in helping your associates deliver the customer experience that you want, and your customers expect.  We want to help you raise the bar on how your associates deliver that experience.  Ultimately, we want to help you create more extraordinary experiences in your stores.

By now, you probably have a pretty good idea that this is not your typical eBook.  It is not a PDF that you download only to lose someplace on your hard disk.  It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at www.yourworkforceisyourbrand.com and accessible via your computer, smartphone or tablet’s browser.

This medium gives us the flexibility to make our eBook a multimedia experience.  Each chapter intermixes text and video to tell its story.  The videos and text are not mirror images of each other.  Rather, they are designed to complement the other. As for the videos, they feature the eBook’s authors as well as several executive level retail operators who were kind enough to share their stories with us.  Their voice adds a unique perspective and makes this eBook much richer, as a result. I’d like to thank them for their time and contribution.

We also chose this medium because we know your time is valuable.  You don’t have time to sit down and read a white paper or watch a 60 minute webinar.  This eBook is designed to be consumed in small bites.  Each chapter averages about 750 words. Each video is between three and five minutes long.  This means that you can get through a chapter on your subway ride to work or over a cup of coffee.

The eBook’s content is designed to be non-linear.  You do not have to read the chapters in a specific order.  Pick a topic that appeals to you and start there.  At the end of each chapter we suggest what to read next but you’re always welcome to decide for yourself.

Thank you for reading Your Workforce is Your Brand.  As you work through the eBook’s content, feel free to share it with others in your organization and your professional network that could benefit.  This is easy to do through the social media icons at the top of each page.  Also, if you have any questions, comments or simply want to start a dialog, feel free to email us.  Bob Clements can be reached at bclements@axsiumgroup.com and on Twitter at @robert_clements.  Bliss can be emailed at bgordon@axsiumgroup.com and on Twitter at @BlissGordon.

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