Here are three invaluable lessons we have learnt along the way.
The customer is always right
It is easy to get so wrapped up in the day-to-day, you can miss signs that can help you improve your business and increase profitability.
For example, we answer 500 customer queries a day. But it became evident over time that the same kind of questions would come up again and again. By developing an online FAQ we were able to:
- Save our staff answering the same questions;
- Identify the areas of the business which need improvement; and
- Save our customers time.
After analysing the repeat questions, one stood out above the rest – When will my order arrive . To make this question a thing of the past, and avoid wasting both our customers and staffs time, we solved it once and for all. We recruited a new delivery supplier to install an order tracking system that has saved us approximately 700 per month and improved efficiency in the warehouse. 80 customers a day are using this new service, which shows just how much it was needed.
Employ the right staff
Recruiting the best people ensures that we are able to use our time more effectively, leaving the day-to-day tasks in the hand of our capable and trusted employees.
It might sounds simple, but ensure your employees who are customer facing have a good standard of English and Maths and have all the tools they need to resolve potential conflicts as quickly as possible.
All retailers need to aim to resolve a query in one call. Which means your staff need to be able to ask the right questions and navigate your internal systems so they can get to the bottom of the query quickly. Avoiding a frustrated customer and your staff spending more time than is necessary.
Keep staff morale
Keeping staff motivated will not only mean a happy team in-house, but will also be noticed by your customers.
Some find that bonuses are the way to go. However, we think it’s far better to invest in your staff from the start – that way everyone knows where they stand and you avoid the stress of pleasing some but deflating others.
Pay staff enough so that money is not an issue they will soon exceed KPIs and this will reflect on the efficiency and profitability of your business.
Finally, show your staff that you care by listening to what they have to say. Little things make a difference and we make a point of surveying our staff every week to ask them what we can do better. Even introducing little ideas they’ve suggested such as branded mugs or recycling bins shows the staff that you care.
Sean Blanks is the Marketing Director of the multi-award-winning e-retailer, cartridgesave.co.uk.