Sometimes deciding whether to spend time on task management or customer service can be like deciding which came first – the chicken or the egg? Although the customer should always come first, you really can’t have good customer service without task management.
It is crucial to weave your task management around customer service. When you’re planning the tasks for your departments, be sure to choose tasks that directly impact the experience your customers have. For example, if you have a fast-moving product, create a task such as “Are the ‘fast-moving widgets’ fully stocked and faced?” That way your employees will know to keep that product stocked and available for your customers.
Perhaps the trickiest part for balancing customer service and managing tasks is the in-store employees having to constantly pause their daily tasks to help a customer. Although this may sound like a good problem to have, you don’t want to be left with a bunch of incomplete tasks at the end of the day.
There is an obvious solution to this problem, which is to schedule more people during your busy times. But what else can you do so your in-store employees can save time and don’t struggle to finish their tasks?
- Delegate, delegate, delegate: It’s important to assign tasks to certain people so that there is no confusion or rework. Being unorganized is one of the easiest ways to waste time.
- Train your employees to ask for help: If an employee suddenly gets swamped helping customers to the point where he realizes he won’t be able to complete his tasks, he needs to ask for help from other employees or his manager. Sometimes, people don’t know when to ask for help or are embarrassed to do so. Create a culture in which your employees feel comfortable asking for help.
- Have your managers float: What I mean by this is have your department managers float from employee to employee to see where they can assist. Your managers should rarely be tied up by a task that keeps them from the sales floor helping customers and employees.
- Use a software solution: Using a software solution for task management can help your employees get tasks done faster. In fact, one retailer used Taskle to make its store audits up to 61% faster than with pen and paper.
Managing tasks and customer service is an endless cycle, but it can feel less like a battle if you just know how to balance the two. If making task management and customer service work together is a struggle you are having, start implementing the above suggestions in increments to see where you were really lacking and find the best solution.