Staffing Appropriately: Customer Service, Downtime, And Training
Every business has a different peak time where sales are higher, and so is profitability. Taking a look at a few specific things can help increase productivity of your employees and help you staff your business so that customers aren’t left without assistance, so that you can gain more sales, and so you can see an increase in profitability.
I have known several small business owners who subscribed to the philosophy that because they owned a small business they could handle the customers themselves, or with just one employee. What they found was that when they got to be very busy customers were left unattended and their business (and bottom line) suffered from these decisions.
Both small and large businesses can see the financial impact of an improperly staffed business.
The first, and one of the most important aspects, of ensuring proper staffing is for customer service. After all, without customers there is no business. Learning and understanding your customer patterns is important to ensure the proper staffing for the ebb and flow of your business. Are weekends busiest for your business, or is it Monday afternoons? Every business will have different customer traffic patterns depending on the types of products and services your business offers. Scheduling heavier for the busier times of the day and week will allow your customers to be helped with the least amount of time waiting as possible.
As we all know, as a customer, we liked to be helped right away. This keeps customers in the store, increases sales, increases customer retention, and increases overall profitability of the business.
Second, appropriate scheduling will also decrease employee downtime and prevent business waste. The less time employees have as downtime increases your profitability as the owner of the business because you aren’t paying employees to stand around. However, some downtime can be useful and should be used wisely with downtime checklists and required training as appropriate.
Third, a business owner should factor in employee training when creating the schedule. New employees need to be shown the ropes by more experienced employees, which takes time. The best way to train employees is to show them how the sales process works with actual customers. Also, pairing new employees with some of the best employees is ideal so they show the new employees how they gain the most sales. This is good to keep in mind when creating the scheduling as a new employee may equal half the sales / double the work speed of a seasoned employee.
In addition to scheduling for employee training, also know which employees are more likely to call in for their scheduled shifts. Following strict company rules for call-ins, and holding employees accountable, will help reduce call-ins, but there will be a few. Also knowing which employees you can count on to come in on short-notice is helpful.
Overall, scheduling appropriately for your business is essential to driving sales, decreasing employee downtime, and ensuring employees are properly trained on the sales floor. All of these aspects affects the businesses bottom line and can significantly help the profitability of the company if done appropriately.