Thursday, February 19, 2009


Readers, I thought it would be interesting to discuss the problems that CPI faces and figure out what (if anything) they can do to make things better for you. Let's talk about the different aspects of the way that SPS is set up and discuss how you would change them. If you have topics you would like to discuss, let me know.

Let's start with PRS. Working at Sears Portrait Studio means you've got a lot of associates that are part timers, many of them students. In theory, since they're there 10-15 hours a week, they're not that invested in the well-being of the company (not saying this is true, I'm just going through the reasoning). When you as a company want to make more money, it makes sense that you would try to get their average sale up. Bring their average sale (or anyone's for that matter) up, and you bring in more money.

The main problem, of course, is that in practice, everything isn't tied to average sales. For example, when SPS calls people during outreach telemarketing, those sittings typically spend less. So you could have someone who brings in 10 extra sits for herself in a week, but this would reflect on her negatively, since these sittings would bring down her PRS.

We all know how closely PRS is tied to you having a job or not, and as a result, everyone feels like their job is in jeopardy when economic times get tough and people spend less.

Would you change PRS? How would you track job performance? How would you motivate staff to bring in more money? It's easy to say what doesn't work (and if you ask me, PRS has a lot of problems), but it's far more difficult to figure out new ways of doing things.


Anonymous said...

Point Blank...... if they want to base EVERYTHING on how much we sell, then give us some damn comission.

Of course we will try harder to sell more if we will be working towards more money for ourselves.

That is the most DUH, thing that the company could do.

Anonymous said... about starting with the elimination of $4.99 and $9.99 pkg. coupons? I think most people are willing to spend at least $19.99 for a pkg. Those cheap coupons target the cheap customer. And if you're going to expect studios to run a 90% custom average, why in the world would you flood the market with pkg. coupons? Let PictureMe have the package customer, and SPS should sell only by the sheet or by the collection. When is CPI going to learn? If you advertise it, people will buy it. I think it's retarded to expect associates to OVERCOME a coupon sent out by the company!

SPS said...

Good point. I get the feeling that Best Buy probably doesn't ask it's associates to say "are you sure this buy one get one DVD coupon really meets all your needs?"

And in regards to commission, word on the street is that there used to be some studios where people got it. Not sure why they stopped, but it seems like the most logical thing to me. That makes me think of another topic to discuss.
/queues up the entry.

Thanks everyone for commenting

Anonymous said...

i was once told when i had a slew of packages sold that i simply wasnt doing my job correctly. i had 15 wonderful poses and top down sold. i listened to my customer needs. so what was incorrect? i still got a corrective action form. the new procedure is to interview every week so if someone is underperforming we replace them immediatly. how can someone perform better during a slow season? and how can we hire new trainees and get them ready to top perform before communion season? how can a business run effectivly with 3 associates running a 7 day a week business? how can they expect us to perform effectivley when we have long periods of boredom followed by spurts of no chance to even use the restroom between pickups and last minute booked sittings. i know i work better when i know theres a second person in the studio. that way i dont have to strain to hear someone out front, leave a sitting to answer the phone, or have a cranky scared child burst into fresh tears when someone walks in to the camera room to ask if theres anyone out front for them to pick up pictures. we need to feel appreciated like all our hard work isnt crap because they spent 9.99. i go into work feeling like a failure and it shows in my work performance. id rather be worked with and taught what im doing wrong rather than YELLED AT IN CAPS from a DM who lives in the neighboring state. sometimes people just need a boost, rather than a fear of being fired. start there and see what results you get. then work on the awful coupons, cheap products and the photo paper that washes photos out.

Anonymous said...

For being all about the $$.... they sure are awful stupid about their coupon choices.

Im not a used car salesman. and im not a telemarketer. I am supposed to be a photographer!!

If they paid better, they would have a MUCH better set of employees and it would be more justifiable to fire someone for not 'performing'. But really, what do thyey expect when they pay the absolute minimum wage?! wevev offered ppl the job befpre and had them LAUGH at us when they found out the starting pay........ because of course there would also be a screaming child in the next room to scare away the person being interviewed.

Anonymous said...

I agree with "anonymous #2" in terms of eliminating the packages.
About three years ago, there was a $3.99/sheet coupon. Why not just bring back the low sheet prices and have a minimum number of sheets? If you can get the $3.99 price and you have to buy at least 5 sheets, we will be sure to at least cover our hourly wage plus some.
Bottom line: packages suck, and the customers wind up with a bunch of crappy petites that they don't use anyway.

They could also allow part time managers. Say, have a manager who words 30 hours a week instead of 40. This would create more labor hours to be spread around the other employees and help them have a more vested interest in the company. That way, the managers would be free to get another part time job if they wanted and we'd all have a better chance of surviving financially, because NO ONE can survive on what CPI pays.

Anonymous said...

The following post was left on the yahoo! message board....very interesting:
This is not a financial post; it is a cry for help to Renato Cataldo and the board.
Since we have brought on Jim Mills and Kellee Pfifer life has taken a truly degrading and demeaning turn for all SPS management. I understand running a business, I have been a business leader for many years (most of which with CPI). I believe in people development through training & encouragement, at the same time setting high expectations and holding my people to them. Unfortunately development, training and encouragement are the last thing on Jim and Kellee's minds. They motivate people by demeaning them and making them fear every move they make. I have seen some crazy things lately, I have seen ALL of the regional directors jobs posted for no other reason then to threaten them and keep them worried, and I have personally witnessed the verbal abuse that both Jim and Kellee have had towards regional directors & district managers and have heard of the abuse even at the studio level.
There has been ZERO encouragement even when you are at the top of the company; you are dragged through the mud for something else. Jim and Kellee know their reports in and out, it is their people skills I truly question. I only ask Renato to get on some of these conference calls unannounced, or go to some of the regional meetings and see what we are really going through. Kellee continues to "bark" out a lot of orders and put out a lot of new things/reports for us to gauge our business by in the field and expects nothing less than perfect understanding of these reports, however she provides little to zero guidance at any level on reading or understanding them. Both Kellee and Jim have not missed a beat since Radio Shack, they have continued doing things their way without really training any of us to get on the same wavelength as them. So if we do not understand their thought process we are penalized. Even if we go along with their ideas we are penalized for something else. If we answer one question right, they find another area to penalize us on.
I understand our business is changing, and will continue to change. This is not anything new in the retail world. We are business managers, but we are also people, and deserve to be treated a lot better than we currently are. I understand this letter may cost me my job. But I have put in way too much time with this company to live everyday in fear of losing my job, when I have had a successful track record through out the years, and continue to be successful. I have poured my heart and soul into this company and twice in the past 3 years I have been offered more money to work somewhere else and refused because I love this company. But honestly, I am not sure if an offer came across my desk right now I would turn it down.
All I ask is for Renato and the board to really look at what power they have given to these two people to destroy what many of us have worked so hard to build. I ask that CPI is fair to every employee in this company. Treat us with respect as we treat all of you. Recognize our performance, make us feel that we are welcome in this company, make us believe this is a good place to work again. And please remember we are people and demeaning us, putting us down and even yelling at us in front of our peers does not make anything better. PLEASE HELP!

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%! How can you talk people out of the $4.99 coupon when it pretty much gives the store away??? Then you're the jerk that sold it when your PRS is down which in turn here comes another write up. Yeah that REALLY motivates me! That's why I recently resigned.

Anonymous said...

After working 24 years with CPI I feel the company has changed for the worst. They used to care but now they don't.
They scream abouth everything from hours used (which none are given to accommadate our clients) try having 58 hours for one week with 5 employees what a joke and they only want you on single coverage everyday. They are crazy you can't help everyone buy yourself it's immpossible and not good customer service which they expect you to have or they yell at you.You can't win. I have given my life to a company which in the begining I loved until lately the last four years the have gone down hill. I transferred out of state for three years and when I transferred back they put me in the same studio I ran for over 13 years and cut my pay $4.00 oer hour what a joke!!
I have been in the green in sales and everything but that didn't matter. Was told if sales went up I would get some of my pay back later when I confronted the DM (which I trained 8 years ago in photography) she declined ever saying it. What a lying bitch.
I've never been srtressed in my life but this job has made me so depressed my doctor took me out of work from it.
I put my life in GODS hands there has to be something better in life for me than this.

Anonymous said...

I work at sps currently and its def. not a fun job. I LOVE the photography part! I HATE the "outreach" might as well be called telemarketing, I hate "Snipers & VIPS" How many more ways of "outreach" can these people come up with. First im suppose to go to random people in sears and ask/beg like a dog. to come into the studio and take their pictures. THEN im suppose to call people everyday, god forbid i be busy on a saturday and not get a chance to freaking get some calls in. It really makes me sick. For a whole $8.25 an hour I am a Receptionist, Photographer, Sales person, Telemarketer, cleaner, person who runs out to "sniper & vip"... along with all that I have to pick up all the other girls slack around the studio so I have to do our dvd & slides, handle the audit drawer, cover for the girls when they cant come in. God forbid i ask for someone to cover me. AND i am suppose to turn sumone away from $8 worth of portraits to $389 worth!!! HELLO!!!!!!!!! If i was purchasing portraits 8$ sounds a way lot better than 400! wtf. OH yea and Now i have to 'compete' for a ast. manager position with a new girl. Hello. I have been with the company for a long time, i control the studio already when the manager is on vacation or w.e. WTF is up with this. I'm tired of it I'm tired of doing 10000000x things for 8.25 That would be the reason why i am most likely quitting soon.... IN THE MID of xmas just to say a BIG F U! :)