If there’s one thing that seriously impacts on the bottom line for retailers it’s staff scheduling. Too many staff can be a waste of resources and customers can feel overwhelmed and pursued.
However, too few staff can result in frustrated customers, poor service and a disillusioned and exhausted team. It’s often tough to strike the perfect balance but there are some obvious signs that you don’t have the right number of staff right now.
1. Queues are very long
For retailers, this is probably the most obvious sign that something has gone awry with staff scheduling. If you don’t have enough staff scheduled to deal quickly with customers looking to pay — in other words, your queue management is falling down — then you don’t have the right number of employees on the floor.
2. Frustrations are being aired frequently
This could be either staff or customers. If you find that you’re getting a lot of customer complaints that relate to service then this is often a clear sign that staff scheduling could be improved. The same goes for staff outbursts – if emotional clashes and conflicts are frequent then is this because your employees are feeling overworked and under pressure?
3. Customer attrition
If you’re losing customers because they just can’t get to the point of handing over their cash, or can’t find what they need because there is no one to help them, then it might be time to reassess staffing needs.
4. Staff sickness and lateness
Everyone needs a sick day every now and again – and we’re all late sometimes. However, if you’re increasingly finding that your staff are habitually late and the number of sick days just seems to increase by the month then this could be symptomatic of something more serious.
Demotivated staff who don’t feel supported and are overworked will take more sick days and less care with timekeeping than those who are part of a correctly sized team in which they’re happy to operate.
5. Negative reviews online
Customers who have had a bad experience in-store will go online to write a review. Staffing levels – and staff happiness – contribute directly to customer experience so where you’re starting to get a lot of negative reviews online it could be that too few staff is to blame.
6. Staff turnover
It’s expensive and time consuming for any business to have to recruit on an ongoing basis, which makes it difficult to ignore it when staff turnover starts to increase. If your store has high staff turnover levels it’s always worth trying to work out why – it could be that increasing the size of the team at peak times so that it’s not spread thin could be all your staff need to stay.