A few weeks ago, I was headed to a special event and I wanted my makeup done. So, I decided to go to a makeup counter and requested an appointment. It was a Sunday and so, I just knew that it was going to be light traffic and a relaxing experience. Well, was I wrong. I was given an appointment time of 2:30pm with an artist. I had one hour and fifteen minutes available before I needed to head home and get ready for the event. While waiting for my appointment time, I observed the area and noticed a manager, and 2 other artists were available and helping out customers.
2:30pm arrives and now it is my time to shine! The make-up artist introduces herself and begins my consultation. In the middle of my consultation, she stops because a customer walks up and needs help. I am thinking that it is going to be a quick 2 minutes; it turns into a 20 minute transaction. My artist had to leave to retrieve an eyebrow pencil in the storage closet, then finds out that they are sold out of that particular item. She then has to find an alternative for this client. After she checks her out, she helps 2 additional walk-up guests. She continues to apologize to me and reminds me that she will be back. By this point, I honestly did not have flexibility in my schedule to allow her since I needed to arrive to the event on time. I decided to thank her for her time and let her know that I honestly had an event that I needed to be on time for. She apologized and I ended up at a competitor makeup counter. My original makeup artist missed out on income and I missed what could have been an awesome guest experience.
There are times that businesses get very busy and unfortunately are short staffed. Because of these circumstances, guests sometimes do not receive the proper experience that they deserve. This experience often results in an unsatisfied customer and loss of income for the business. Here are a few ways to help your guest service team manage multiple guests at a time:
1. Designate roles accordingly. During busy times, it is best to have a strategic game-plan together so that everybody wins. One method that works great is to delegate and assign everyone with a particular role. For example, one associate is responsible for walk-in guests and is a free floater. Their role is to handle people who do not have appointments and also if they need to help additional people who get tied up, they can. Another associate is responsible for checking out guests; while another associate is responsible for providing the service only. In order for an engine to run smoothly, the parts need to be aligned and working to their maximum benefit. If everyone is running around trying to help everybody, there is going to be mass chaos.
2. Avoid planning lunch & breaks around busy peak times. While I was at my makeup appointment, I noticed that the other artist decided to go on break. This hurt the other 2 artists. Yes, legally, you have to take a break and I am for it, but, the worst time to take a break is when your team-members are few in number and there are more guests that need assistance. Instead, observe and analyze the busiest times for your business and strategically plan breaks and lunches around those times. This will ensure that the ratio from guest to associate is more balanced.
3. Appointments are KEY. If someone has an appointment scheduled and is a paying guest, that guest should receive proper attention and a smooth flowing service. The purpose of an appointment is to ensure and lock in a time. If the appointment is constantly interrupted, then there really is no point of accepting appointments. Instead, you should evaluate your business model, personnel support, and create a first come-first served approach.
In the story that I shared with you earlier, I ended up leaving and receiving services from a competitor and also evaluated my bad experience. I decided to take a break from that particular company and research other makeup brands that can provide excellent services. As business owners, we only have one time to get it right. Managing guests is an art, but it is absolutely possible if you plan accordingly.
For more information on how you can create an awesome guest experience or improve customer service at your organization, contact Demetria Gilkey today at 270-991-2679 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s grow your clientele!