Sunday, November 2, 2008

Practically staff a studio alone


"I manage a studio and have not had a day off in almost 4 months and work open to close everyday. I cannot keep employees in my studio, they all quit after a week or two due to the stress of the job or the lack of hours (I'm expected to fully staff my store on 60 labor hours, which includes my 40 hours as full do the math: that is less than 20 hours to split between any employees because god forbid you have to stay late and go over 60 for the week!!!!) When I ask my DM for help, all I get is "Sorry, there is no one we can send you...hang in there". Hang in there?!?! I don't see him working these hours and giving up all of his days off!!!!

Plus most days I go without a break from open to close because god forbid we disappoint a customer who has come in to spend $4.99 with their coupon (and will undoubtedly run you ragged and be picky and demanding). Oh and forget about being sick...can't close the studio for one day for anything! Oh and about that $4.99 do they expect us to sell anything to anyone when they can get almost everything for free? Seriously...a customer can come in with a coupon for a free 10x13, use the free 8x10 off of their super saver card (which we gave them for practically nothing) and buy a collage for $4.99 (or that stupid package for 4.99 or 9.99) and a ton of other coupons that are all combinable and never seem to expire. After all of that, most of them don't need to buy anything else because we have already given them all of their pictures! But that doesn't matter, if you mention this to anyone in upper management you get in trouble for not "overcoming" the coupon, and complaining.....are they serious?!

How many of the heads of CPI do you see working in the studios, they have probably never even set foot in one. They should have to come and try and sell $100 to someone who has all of these coupons. They also have the shadiest sales techniques. For example, I noticed this on the browser the other day. We are supposed to sell the Super Saver card to every customer, they want us to talk about all of the benefits and how amazing deal this card is. Then, when the customer returns and wishes to use the Super Saver benefit, the browser tells us that we need to talk about how "limiting" the card is, and how it isn't a good deal at all. How deceitful is that?


Anonymous said...

If you read the back of the Super Saver Card, it says you are not allowed to add the benefits to any other offers, packages, or collections. So yes, very limiting and very deceitful.

SPS said...

Well and not to mention that "buy one get one free" means "buy a one get one of the exact same pose in the exact same size" which results in people paying around the same amount, but just getting a lot of extra photos from it.

Anonymous said...

:( My heart just broke a little for you...if I lived near you, I would TOTALLY come and help. But I'm guessing you're probably not in california.

leosgirl said...

Oh, and don't forget the regular customers who know about the SPEC sheets that are always sent. Why would they pay extra for that special enhancement they may like and a few more sheets when they will get 3 sheets for $20 at pick up (one of which will most likely be enhanced?) And then they'll buy the CD a few months later when there is a CD sale!

Anonymous said...

I would be curious to know what kind of labor % your studio is running... anything less than about 17% is crazy. What is your current PRS, and how many sessions are you averaging per week? Labor is all about total sales. As the busy season nears, why in the world would you be on a 60 hour per week plan?!! You really should crunch these numbers and go above DM. Your store manager also has a lot of stroke in this area. I found that stating your case and simply asking for more hours usually did the trick.

Anonymous said...

I am thinking of going to a SPS for family photos and my son's 2-year old pics.

Here's what I want...

One 10x13 of the family for my darn wall! Hubby keeps putting it off.

Holiday cards... Why not? Maybe 20-30

And 3 different poses of my son. One 8x10 and 2 5x7's for my wall frame that I plan to update every year.

ANd whatever else I need to make up a package.

And of course a CD cuz I always seem to change my mind of what I want to print and For archive purposes. I hate having any shot of my kid escape me.

And I am probably willing to spend around $150.

Can it be done? Would I be a good customer or a bad customer?

Of course, I have no idea where you are located, but if you are near Cleveland Ohio, maybe I'll see you! :-)

And as a former retail manager for about 8 years, In general I do enjoy your blog. I can relate and sympathize.

SPS said...

When I was there it was 4 specs for $20. Now I hear they're ramping it up to 5 specs for $25. Before too long you're not going to need to buy any photos at the time of the sitting

@anonymous comment above:
Yeah, you can probably do that. there's not a particular package that includes greeting cards to my knowledge, but if you explain what you want, I bet they can work it out for you. They'll for sure appreciate a customer looking to spend $150 dollars.

For comparison's sake, last year there was a holiday special that gave you 15 sheets plus a CD for 149.99. If they're not offering that again, you should at least be able to get 10 sheets. And I bet they'd be willing to sub things around to make you happy. Explain what you want at the start, they'll love you.

Also, you'll find a free 10x13 coupon on the sears portrait studio website.

Lonely Manager said...

Nope not in California, they wouldn't let anyone come help me anyway...just found out the other day that someone had offered to come to help me but the DM told them they didn't feel like paying the associate to do it.

My usual PRS is between 120 - 140 for week. However, the last 2 weeks have been rough (with halloween and the extra coupons that have been sent out and not to mention the crappy economy) I've dropped somewhere around the 70 range (which has only happened 2 other times since they hired me). Now they decided to write me up for my studio's low if I don't get it up they will get rid of me (which is interesting...what are they going to do not open?!)

Also, don't know what my seasonal hours are. My DM sucks. I asked and he flipped out for me asking and never got back to me. I don't know what the hell is going on lol.

Anonymous said...

We usually have M.I.Ts that travel to different studios from time to time to help out. Do you guys not have traveling associates? Thats usually how I get my full time hours. But of course the amount they pay you for drive time and mileage is a joke!