This series is about how retail traffic counting, customer service and theft prevention all relate to each other. It is also a discussion on how leadership impacts the environment in a business and can build success or damage morale. As my examples for this article I referenced visits I recently made to two different fast food restaurants. I used Part 1 to illustrate the poor example of service and how it appeared management had failed to plan for a particularly busy shift or a busy day based on my observations. Had that business been a retail store I have no doubt that customers would have abandoned shopping carts and shoplifters would have been able to steal to their hearts content. I also noted that employees were not friendly and it may well have been the result of the way the manager was reacting to the situation and barking orders and questioning employees.
In Part 2 I am sharing a much more positive experience at another restaurant and the lessons that can be applied to a retail store. It was another busy day and I will go out on a limb and say the second restaurant was even busier than the first had been. Cars were lined up completely around the building at the drive through and the parking lot was full. I parked and went in expecting to have to wait a considerable amount of time. That turned out not to be the case, I was able to go up to the counter and order my food. The cashier was pleasant and took my order then began to fill it. I stepped back and watched the team. The manager was giving directions but was also encouraging the team. He wasn’t stressed though he had every right to be based on the number of patrons. Every employee I could see was smiling and appeared to be in good spirits. There seemed to be an adequate number of workers to meet the needs of the day. I don’t know what the business used for staffing or planning but if they were a retail business I would have guessed they used customer counting systems to help plan for the day or the week. To top off this trip as I walked out to my car I saw that not only were cars going through the drive through, the manager had two employees going to those cars to take orders by hand and deliver them to the window to speed up service. I was impressed.
Using these two restaurants in comparison I would ask how your stores stack up in terms of leadership and customer service. If you were to use a retail traffic counting device you would be able to use hard numbers to know when traffic flow is taking place. Use that information to make effective schedules, having the right number of workers in place at the right time. That alone will go a long way in keeping your workers happy. It also makes life easier on managers who aren’t feeling under pressure to do the work rather than being able to take a step back and provide directions. Stressed managers stress the teams working for them.
How easy is it to set up customer counting systems? If you have a Sensormatic security system it may be just a matter of incorporating it in an existing security tower. If you don’t have a Sensormatic system to prevent shoplifting I can tell you that they are affordable even for the smallest of stores. Even better, if you were to purchase it through Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. you receive free anti-shoplifting training that will help you effectively reduce theft and learn how to respond to Sensormatic system alarms. If cost is a concern they also offer financing options. As someone who has been in retail for over 28 years I strongly recommend that you visit the Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. website for more information on customer counting systems and anti-theft devices.
It should be noted that improving customer service by having an adequate number of people working affects more than just employee happiness. I will tell you that having enough workers available when your store is busy improves sales as more attention can be given to assisting shoppers on the salesfloor. It is also an effective means of combating shoplifting, especially when used with a Sensormatic security system. To staff properly don’t take a guess at how you should schedule. Use a retail traffic counting device and start to reap the benefits immediately. You can count on it!
Customer counting systems are important and we can help you with it. Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.