With festive season comes busier, bustling businesses. Which is pretty cool. It’s awesome actually, I mean who doesn’t want their very own business full of excited customers.
“At the Velvet Cake Co we love this festive time of the year, however it’s also our crazy busy time so it’s all hands on deck. It’s important to maintain our high standards and quality especially during our busy time.” – Jandri, Velvet Cake Co
But naturally when things get crazy busy the level of quality of your products and customer service can take a bit of a knock. This is completely understandable, we are all human after all. More products need to be produced faster due to the increase in demand. More customers mean more pressure which often leads to a bit of panic.
“Challenges during these busy times are high volumes of orders, working overtime and busy stores. Ensuring good customer service during a demanding time.” – Jandri, Velvet Cake Co
With this in mind Jandri, owner of Velvet Cake Company and #YocoFamily member, shared her thoughts on maintaining a high level of quality when things get hectic (and we must say, Velvet Cake Co are pros at this). We’ve also thrown in some tips that we’ve picked up while working closely with small businesses.
1. Manage Expectations
For the most part people are fairly understanding once they know what’s up. Let customers know upfront that waiting times might be slightly longer or that stock of a popular product is likely to sell quickly. This could mean adding a small note on your website or social media pages, or training your staff on what to say to customers.
2. Delight customers with unexpected treats
There are lots of simple fun things you can do to ease the tension that comes with longer waiting periods. Think a free chocolate at the checkout counter or some light entertainment for your salon’s queue that’s stretching out of the door (mime, anyone?).
Find new and quick ways to make customers feel special at this time of year – a little thoughtfulness goes a long way and can turn a negative situation of long queues into positive, loyal customers.
3. Hire more hands
Jandri recommends hiring more staff for your busy period. Velvet Cake Co usually gets quite busy with everyone looking to buy treats for their holiday celebrations. In order to keep queues moving, Jandri adds to her team for the festive period. There are always students looking for part time work over the holidays, so check out sites like Rent a Student and Indeed.
4. Allocate resources where they make the most sense
“We order more packaging to make sure it lasts until next year.” – Jandri, Velvet Cake Co
Whether it’s extra hands, raw materials or products, make sure that you’re allocating extra resources where they’re going to make the most impact. Track what products are most popular and order more of those. Track the times of the day you’re most busy and get extra hands for just that period.
If you’re a #YocoFamily member, your Yoco Business Portal helps you do this quickly and easily. You’ll be able to log in and see real-time stats on how your business is performing. See which items sell best, which times and days you accept the most payments, compare your performance across periods and more. You can find out how it works in more detail here and here.
5. Don’t be afraid to cut back where you need to
With allocating your resources more intelligently comes knowing where to cut back too. Make small changes where you can to help make the period more manageable.
You could offer a slightly smaller menu of your bestsellers or avoid doing highly custom items if you know this will take focus away from your ability to deliver your core offering. Again, people will understand if you’re upfront and let them know the items will be back when things calm down.
6. Be prepared for hiccups and nastiness
It’s not always nice to think about how things could go wrong, but it could save you a bit of chaos down the line. Think about possible situations that could arise and what your customers may complain about, and put a process in place so your staff know who to go to and how to fix the problem quickly.
For example, do you refund unhappy customers or offer them a voucher? What constitutes a valid complaint and what doesn’t? Set your guidelines early on and communicate them clearly to your team.
Want to find out how Yoco can help your small business get ready for peak season? Visit readyforseason.yoco.co.za