With the increased foot traffic of Christmas trade a distant memory, retailers are now in the process of reviewing store labour hours to achieve correct staffing levels for current traffic patterns. They are also looking at ways to maintain or increase profits by reducing costs.
With wages being one of the main costs of running a retail store, it’s regularly an area that undergoes intense scrutiny. Rosters are analysed, looking for any opportunity to save a dollar.
While there may be necessary changes with the fluctuating trends of retail, making unrealistic cuts to store labour hours can be detrimental to the businesses customer service offering.
A business must be mindful when adjusting or reducing hours, asking whether the number of staff on the shop floor, will be sufficient to not only serve the number of customers who enter the store but be able to serve them well.
Various factors including the nature of the products and services sold, will determine the ideal amount of time a staff member must spend with a customer to ensure complete satisfaction. When hours are reduced, the time available for each customer may also be reduced, forcing staff to rush or shorten their interactions. This may result in a customer deciding not to purchase at all or, the value of the transaction being reduced, due to customers not benefiting from a complete service experience.
Even worse, reduced hours may see customers go completely ignored, with insufficient staff on the shop floor to ensure every customer is acknowledged. This has a detrimental effect on the business, doing damage to its overall service reputation.
Often a business will have customer service standards in place, with certain expectations of staff in regards to how they interact with customers. Staffing levels should be realistic to be able to maintain these standards as well as meet the expectations of customers.
Keeping in mind, staff also have operational tasks to complete such as getting stock on the shelves. Reducing hours may put even more pressure on staff to focus on completing these tasks therefore ignoring customer service as a result.
Although reviewing labour hours regularly is necessary, it is imperative the ability of the staff to provide the level of service expected, is considered when making adjustments. Cutting costs of wages to ensure profit is a constant temptation but at what cost does this have on the level of service provided to customers and the service reputation of the business?