An Interview with the Microsoft's Newest Store Manager

New store Manager Tiffany Traynum and I at the opening
New store Manager Tiffany Traynum and I at the opening

On November 22, Microsoft opened its 110th store in the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda Maryland. It was a big event, and if you want to see all the crazy, fun excitement of the opening moments please enjoy our videos of the event.

Making a successful store requires more than just great products, it also requires a great team of people, and they thrive best with great leadership. Judging by the enthusiastic and well informed staff of the Microsoft Store at the opening, they have both. I was fortunate to be able to get a few minutes with the incredibly busy manager of the new store, Tiffany Traynum.

Tiffany has been working for Microsoft for three years, including a stint at the Microsoft Store in nearby Tyson’s Corners. She told us that the reason Microsoft is opening up a store in this location is that despite having two specialty stores in the Baltimore area, Maryland has not had a Microsoft Store in the heavily populated, high-tech part of the State.  This newest store is intended to fill the needs of the residents and businesses in the Washington, DC suburb of Montgomery County and surrounding areas.

Store Manager Tiffany Traynum addressing the crowd at the start of the Grand Opening
Store Manager Tiffany Traynum addressing the crowd at the start of the Grand Opening

I asked her to describe the planning process and training of the staff and she said that the 1,300 sq ft store has been in the planning stages for many months, and Tiffany and her staff of 32 employees have been training for 2-3 months in order to provide customers with the highest quality of knowledgeable service.

When asked to describe how a visit to the Microsoft Store might differ from going to one of Microsoft’s retail partners, like Best Buy, she replied:

“Our retail partners provide an excellent customer experience which we try to expand upon in several areas. We offer extensive on site troubleshooting and repair services, and naturally, if we encounter anything we can’t handle immediately on site, the staff has a direct line to all the support we they need from headquarters to ensure that anything our customers bring us we will get fixed. Customers walking in to look at a new purchase will find a very large product selection, along side unique offerings like training; both individual and group, and unique services such as individual personal shopping.”

The latter sounded pretty interesting, particularly if you have a tech-savvy person on your gift list but don’t know what to get them. She explained that you can go online to book appointments for the individual services ahead of time, ensuring your visit will be as pleasant as possible.

"Honest Boss. These were just part of a test. You'll let me expense them - right?"
“Honest Boss. These were just part of a test. You’ll let me expense them – right?”

She seemed very proud of her team, and all the work that had gone into preparing for the big day, and when I told her I had tested them extensively with a series of purchases and was impressed with the calm, professional performance in the midst of so much activity she beamed: “I’m so proud of them all! It’s such a privilege to work with such a great team!”

Watching her staff handle over a thousand customers on Saturday, plus a special event with Stephen Strasburg, I can see why she was so proud of them.  She has a great team, and Microsoft has a great new Manager of its newest store.