What Customers…Smell?

What Customers Smell From Your Employees Can Hurt Your Business. Above Promotions Company 2012.
What Customers Smell From Your Employees Can Hurt Your Business. Above Promotions Company 2012.
What Customers Smell From Your Employees Can Hurt Your Business. Above Promotions Company 2012.


Above Promotions Company provides Consumer Evaluations for clients who have brick and mortar or extensive online businesses.  This type of evaluation allows owners an opportunity to improve their brand’s image from the consumer’s view.  Whether you’re a retailer or restaurant owner, you can find out ways to improve your customers’ experience.

Having completed this evaluation in the past, we’ve found our customers were pleased with recommendations presented and found ways to quickly incorporate our detailed notes for improvement with ease.  Little did we know, until a recent trip to a large retailer, we failed to include an item on the evaluation.  Please note this checklist of areas and summary of observations is extensive.  However, our nose let us know we were on to a valuable area to evaluate.  This area could not only affect the nose, but also the bottom line.

What was this piece of missing data?  Employees who smell.  We have always included the personal appearance of the employees in the evaluation.  Surely, no customer wants to be greeted by someone who has on wrinkled and dirty clothes and hair.  And a clean, hydrated face goes a long way for a friendly face.  But in none of our past evaluations have we run across the “smelly employee”.

So as the recent trip to the retail giant proved as an area for them to improve in as well as update our evaluations, it sparked some great dialogue online between fellow business owners and shoppers.  To put it quite frankly, the conversation started as follows:

So what if you went into a store you frequent to make a purchase and the clerk had extreme body odor, to the point it made you hold your breath. 

As a person who appreciates the store/brand, would you:

 A.) take your items and breathe when you got outside

B.) tell the manager/store owner about the smell in the general area and let them investigate

C.) tell the clerk yourself?

Final question, would it matter to you if you did or did not know the store owner in determining your answer.

The responses varied between those who chimed in, but one thing rang true amongst all of them, a smelly worker at a business is a MAJOR turn off for a customer.  From not returning to avoiding the employee in future visits, participants gave many valid points to support their stance.

So what should the business owner or manager do?  We’re not human resource experts who can help to guide you through the fine line between law and managing not to humiliate the employee.  What we can say is, this smelly matter has to be addressed.  Just as you cannot ignore if your location smells, you cannot look pass an employee who does.  That uncomfortable conversation cannot be avoided as it directly affects customers and the brand’s image.  You must quickly, appropriately and professionally address the employee at the first occurrence to keep it from happening again.  You never know.  You may identify a personal issue beyond the smell you or your manager didn’t know previously.

In this economy, can you afford to lose a customer by not addressing the issue?

Would love to hear from you!  What would you do as an employer or a customer?


Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace.  From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations.  Visit www.abovepromotions.com today.


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