Five ways to ensure your staff schedule matches customer demand
Schedule to the opportunity
It’s an obvious fact – deploying staff to match customer demand will result in a better customer experience. And, ultimately, a better customer experience means better conversion and more money in the till. But it is easier said than done. At StoreTech we’ve spent years researching and refining the process, and distilled what we’ve learnt into one very simple, highly intuitive tool. But what's gone into that tool? With so many variables, what decisions did we take to arrive at the end product? Based on what we’ve learnt over the years, we’ve identified five areas that will help you define your customers needs, and optimise your staff schedule accordingly.
Staffing decisions should always be data driven
Whether decisions are made at head office or store level, it is crucial that they are crafted around real data. Managers can have greater confidence in the accuracy of the staff schedule when they know their decisions are evidence-based, and once a model is defined it can be rolled out across the estate providing consistency in every store – another core attribute of creating a positive customer experience.
Decide on your definition of customer demand
Before you match staff levels to demand, you need to decide which metrics best represent customer demand for you. Is it customer traffic, historical sales data, or the number of transactions? By far the purest and most accurate measure is customer traffic. Although on the face of it historical sales data might seem a good metric, it actually offers a very restricted view. It only tells you what you were able to achieve with the schedule you had in place – but was that optimal? Were customers being served efficiently? Was stock getting replenished quickly? Was the dwell time at the changing rooms within acceptable levels? All these things affect conversion and will skew sales data, so in isolation, it’s simply not a robust enough measure of success.
Define all staff tasks
If only your employees had one job to do; serving customers. However, as you know there are lots of essential, non-selling tasks such as processing deliveries, restocking shelves and admin. If you clearly and honestly define these tasks and the time they take, it becomes easier to schedule them at a time that has the minimum impact on sales floor performance.
Keep using data to optimise your staff scheduling capabilities
You know the total number of hours that are allocated to a store, the people available, the tasks to be completed and the pattern of customer demand. Now start allocating staff to both selling and non-selling activities to ensure that all hours are used effectively. The easiest way to do that? With a drag and drop tool that draws on all of the information available to provide a blueprint for an efficient staff schedule, but that also allows you to move tasks and people around to fit your requirements.
From there it’s about optimisation – keep using the data you gather to fine tune the schedule going forward. A successful week can provide a template for future resource planning, but it’s hardly scientific. The sooner you start collecting data systematically, the more you’ll have to work with going forward and the more accurate your staff schedule will become.
If you’re interested in learning how you can decrease in-store costs by up to 12% using StoreTech’s intelligent staff scheduling tool, why not schedule a free demo with one of our experienced product managers? People Counting On-Demand Demo Video