The key issue in time management is focus. Remind your staff of the vision and values for your boutique on a regular basis to keep everyone focused.
If low customer traffic is a factor in time-wasting, get staff working on ways to bring in more:
- Customer tracking (e.g. do you know your 50 top spenders?)
- Data capture
- Connect with customers
- Window displays
- Publicity and PR: Get them to update your shop’s Facebook page, tweet about your shop and photograph themselves in the stock to e-mail to clients.
- Work on training to improve the customer conversion rate.
- Set targets for in-store tasks as well as sales.
- Train staff to use your stock control system. With greater involvement, they’ll have less time to waste!
- A role for everyone: ensure everyone has specific tasks (written down).
A client of ours with a womenswear boutique found that her staff wouldn’t take responsibility for cleaning the changing rooms. Whenever she asked them to do it, they seemed to find other urgent matters to attend to. She found herself doing it early each morning, to maintain the high standards she had set for her shop. She complained to us that she was spending too much time on tasks like this and not enough time on marketing her boutique. We suggested giving each member of staff a clear list of daily tasks in their job description, together with daily deadlines by which the tasks needed to be completed. We got her to read through the job descriptions with each member of staff. These were then displayed on a board in the back office and she was asked to remind each of them about these on a daily basis. It worked and freed up enough time to focus on more strategic management issues.
Thierry Bayle, Global Fashion Management