A single bad customer service experience can cost you a customer for life. On the other hand, overstaffing can quickly eat into your profits and put you out of business. The key to balancing these two conflicting concerns is efficient scheduling.
Identify Peak Times and Boost Staff
The first step is to identify when your customers need the most help. A traditional retail schedule might account for the fact that Saturdays are busier than Tuesdays, but you need to go deeper to optimize your scheduling.
For example, do you have a weekday lunch rush or an influx of shoppers after school lets out? Using part-timers to bulk up during these hours versus having staff sit idle for the rest of the day can save you money while making customers happy.
You can track your peak times by tying your point-of-sale system into your scheduling software
. Increase your staff when sales are highest, and then compare historical sales against staffing levels to see if they’re making a difference.
React to Weather and Other Special Events
Tracking sales gives you a good picture of recurring busy times, but it may miss additional helpful factors.
Homebase lets you see the weather forecast directly in your schedule. If you know business goes up when it’s 80 degrees and sunny, you know to bring in more people. On the other hand, a rainy day might be a good day to grant extra time-off requests without calling in replacements.
If you get big groups from sporting events, trade shows or other infrequent events, your managers can enter that on the manager log
. This way, you can track their event schedules and be ready for the extra visitors.
Be Realistic About Opening and Closing Times
Nothing is more disappointing to a customer than finding out a business isn’t open or has stopped serving before its stated hours. Employees, on the other hand, have a right to know when they’ll get to go home
. And you, of course, don’t want wasted hours.
The manager log can also give you a good idea of how long it takes to complete opening and closing tasks on average, as well as what causes variations. Match this with hourly sales reports to determine your ideal opening and closing times, as well as how much time to add before or after hours to allow employees to complete opening or closing tasks.
Allow Shift Swapping
When employees are stuck in a shift they don’t want, the chances of them calling out go up exponentially. One of the easiest ways to stop this problem is to allow your employees to trade for shifts that better match their personal schedules.
Homebase allows shift trading with almost no work for you. Employees can post their desired trades and match up with someone looking for a swap. All you need to do is press a button to approve the request.
A common theme in all of these tips is to use technology to make your life easier and your business run more smoothly The more you do by hand, the more time it will take, and the less likely you’ll want to continue making the effort to create an ideal schedule. By switching to a dedicated scheduling system like Homebase, you can make your schedules more profitable while spending even less time than you do making schedules by hand.