All industries experience times of peak trading. From airlines and restaurants to retailers and supermarkets, they all experience periods of high traffic where the resources of customer service staff are greatly outweighed by customer demand and customer expectation.
For retailers and supermarkets, it is important to manage these rush hours and busy periods to ensure customer service standards do not slip and you can maintain customer loyalty. This article provides you with 5 insightful tips for maintaining superior customer service during these difficult moments.
Your hands on deck
In peak periods you've most likely asked your employees to still go the extra mile, so take this to heart. Instead of lurking in the office, get onto the shop floor and increase your visibility to employees. Help them in any way you can - open another checkout to reduce queues, stack shelves or guide shoppers. This boosts employee morale, helps you identify bottlenecks and could help break down staff-manager barriers.
Prepare staff for the peak trading
Let them know the high-volume period is approaching so they aren't stressed by nasty surprises. In meetings you can prepare staff in many ways. Warn them about the heightened emotional state of their customers, ask them to relive their own experiences as a customer during peak trading, and assure them you will be there to answer their questions. You could even discuss simple stress management techniques to help them make it through the peak period.
Rewards and recognition
During the busy periods, it may be appropriate to hold mini-celebrations when a particular goal has been met like sales targets. Time milestones can also be highlighted to boost enthusiasm, for example, a cake during their lunch break reads "We're halfway there". Once the peak trading period has died down, you can use rewards to show staff how much you value their extra efforts during busy times. Take this as an opportunity to demonstrate customer's appreciation as well, by showcasing any positive comments received in store.
It may be beneficial to let your staff take small breaks after they've dealt with a particularly upset customer. Walking around, having a drink of water and a friendly chat can wash away the negative residue of their last encounter and means they get back to work refreshed. Venting and steam blowing is acceptable as long as it is isolated and doesn’t affect the mood of other workers or become visible to customers.
Tempting as it may be to wipe a stressful period from your memory, you can use the experience to improve your performance the next time around. Ask your staff for their point of view, as it will make them feel valued. Make a poster of key takeaway lessons from the period and put it up next time during the Preparation stages.
Being able to respond to and also predict peaks in demand are key components of our intelligent queue management system. By analysing historical data, sales target and current demand, our queue management systems can optimise your front end services to reduce queues, lower staffing costs and improve customer service and satisfaction.
Irisys are the world's leading supplier of queue management systems. Check out our queue management success stories to see how we have helped grocers and supermarkets all over the world or get in touch to find out how we can help you.