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28th November 2020
The beginning of the end? News is just breaking of the positive results from the Covid 19 vaccine trials that mean the first vaccines may be available around the end of this year. A huge step forward yet the end is not quite in sight yet and business is likely to have more months of disruption to come.
The way we have done things has been changed for such a long period that we probably won’t go back to how things were, and new behaviours have had long enough to become entrenched habits. All businesses are looking at new ways of doing things as sales and trading patterns have changed forever. All businesses are likely to be looking hard at their cost base and making sure they right size their operating model. We created an article for an Irish grocery trade publication, shown below, that covers our top tips on cutting costs without damaging customer experience.
In today’s difficult trading environment with ongoing uncertainty, it’s important to balance considerations of cost and customer experience. So, we’ve put together our top opportunity list to help you review your operation.
First, let’s consider growing productivity by selling more. The things we often spot that get in the way of driving sales are:
Your Challenge: take a hard look at your customer service – When do customers visit your business? Does that match your colleague availability? Are there times of the day when queues build up? Are your colleagues focussed on stock tasks rather than prioritising customers? If so, free up more people to be available for customers by shuffling shift start times, breaks and when other tasks are completed.
It is easiest to drive sales during peak trading when the highest number of customers are around. How much more can you sell during peak trading by moving resources?
Once you’ve optimised sales, it’s time to turn to your costs. We start by looking for waste activity within the operation that can be removed without an impact on customer experience. Below are the most common culprits we see:
Your challenge: watch your delivery being put away. Are your team walking further necessary? If so, you have identified some time and cost you can save.
Click & Collect can be another source of excessive walk time – and it wastes your customers’ time too. We’ve seen parcels stored so far at the back of a distant stock room that it is quicker for the customer to select the items from the sales floor and pay at the till than it is to wait for a colleague to find and bring back their parcel.
Your challenge: Look at your Click & Collect operation – are the parcels to be collected as close to the service desk as possible? The average time we observe for parcel collection is over a minute, and the fastest retrieve and hand out parcels I just 29 seconds. Get parcel retrieval right and you won’t just save labour cost, you’ll also encourage your customers to interact with you via all your channels.
Your challenge: Review your customer-facing operation; how many colleagues are under-occupied and could usefully be doing something else? Can you save those hours or move work shifts so they are available at your busiest time?
Your challenge: Firstly, check you have the right resource available at the time you need it; take any slack time and put it into your busiest customer times. The second is to ensure your business has a culture where everyone knows what is expected of them and gets on with it. Leadership makes a big difference.
Your challenge: look critically at your till operation. Is it easy for the team to use? Are button presses minimised? Does the system cope well with every possible transaction scenario?
Is the till area well laid out – is everything easily to hand?
It’s also worth a look at a receipt – most of them are too long and only use one side of the paper. Typically, retailers can save up to 20% of their till roll costs by condensing the receipt copy and switching to e receipts.
Taking the time to get the till experience right helps ensure that your customer experience moment of truth leaves a good last impression and can reduce salary costs too.
Taking a fresh look at your operation can help you to delight your customers while managing your cost base and grow your business.
Read more? Efficiency Studies are a great diagnostic tool to identify opportunities to streamline your operations and quantify potential savings. And comparisons with our extensive benchmarks brings a useful external perspective too. Efficiency Study can be a quick route to creating a robust evidence base to cut through prolonged discussions, help you prioritise and start making changes that really make a difference. We’ve published a case study on our website that explains what Efficiency Study helps you do and shares some examples from our client work. Click the link to read more