The goal of business strategizing is to remove as many disruptions or unnecessary factors when building your recipe for success. In many retailers’ minds, customers are one of these disruptions. Hate to break it to you, but that is actually the opposite case. Customer satisfaction as a result of interaction with your business is not only a crucial part of calculating labor utilization rates but an integral measure of overall success.
Is this news as shocking to your business equation as cold water to the face?
Not convinced yet? Here’s the deal:
The Valuable Variable: Customers
The shadow from over the horizon coming to threaten the well-being of the brick-and-mortar retail store is online shopping. Heck, we get it. It’s fast, easy and you don’t have to deal with any traffic or crazy drivers to get to what you want to buy. For retail to continue drawing in physical bodies to a physical location, an in-store experience must be executed that is just as easy as online shopping, with even more benefits. What benefits? Human interaction and personalization. Human interaction is what distinguishes a brick-and-mortar store from online shopping. To continue competing with a growing internet convenience, retail businesses must consider retail customer interaction as an additional dependent variable in the workforce planning, labor utilization, and labor standards equation. Still don’t think this is an issue? Think again, even Forbes has noticed. Yes, that Forbes.
Provide world class customer experiences and you can even get someone this excited about a computer to come in to your store!
Knowing What They Want
When adding the new variable of customer satisfaction to workforce planning, the key factor comes down to simple specifics: learning what is relevant to your target audience and how to enhance their customer experience through those specifics areas of importance. Take, for example, apparel and department stores. These retail markets are very driven on customers feeling like sales associates wanted to help them find what they were looking for and wanted to attend to every need they had while hunting for that perfect pair of jeans. Therefore, workforce planning for these markets needs to be built around sales associates mastering the ability to connect to the customer, listen to what they need, and assist them in a friendly manner.
Constructing workforce planning around the specificities for your businesses market is imperative for increased revenue. Customers are willing to not only pay more for a product, but shop for that product more frequently if they feel that their top 3 benefits of their retail shopping interaction are being met.
How to Give Them What They Want
Well-instituted Engineered Labor Standards provide your sales associates the most opportunity to interact with your customers and fulfill the part of the equation dependent upon their satisfaction. Labor standards make your employees the most effective and efficient possible. You want your management team to be able to mentor your sales associates, AKA your front line for sales. Reaping the benefits of one-on-one meetings and coaching allows store associates to give the proper attention to customers to drive sales.
The purpose of labor standards within retail is to streamline processes to make the most of company time and effort. This is directly intertwined with customer interaction. For example, let’s examine the ever-present delivery process. Your business constantly needs new product and merchandising to stay ahead in the retail game. Although a delivery is an undeniable necessity, the timing of the delivery plays into the variable of customer satisfaction. If a delivery arrives during peak hours, your sales associates can no longer exclusively focus on customer experience, thus negatively affecting satisfaction. Divided attention leads disappointed customers, and no business wants that result.
Streamlining processes such as deliveries to coordinate with a labor utilization schedule around peak hours allows for retail customer interaction to remain the primary focus. Efficiency and effectiveness are maxed out when the focus is on the customers when they are in the store, and the focus is on the product when sales traffic is down.
How to Make Them Want More
While labor standards with the necessary customer satisfaction variable in place provide the processes to allow for maximum retail customer interaction, labor utilization with this variable included allows for the opportunity to have a satisfactory outcome. The outcome of an equation is just as important and the variables involved, and customer satisfaction is both a variable and necessary outcome.
Having this variable included in labor utilization is incredibly important in regards to staff scheduling. Optimization of sales associates for peak hours is crucial to making sure customers feel attended to, important and acknowledged. Conversely, too many sales associates without enough customers leads to less productivity on the part of the employees and more company expense.
Part of a successful equation is the ability to maneuver variables to balance all terms. Therefore, your business needs to be flexible with scheduling processes to figure out when it is most effective to have maximum staff, when can minimum staff be utilized and how long shifts need to be. A willingness needs to be built into the equation for change to find the best formula to use. There can be many ways to solve an equation, but some ways will always be more effective and efficient than others.
Successful equations with defined variables aren’t just for mathematics.
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