With high staff turnover intuitive solutions can save a fortune, says Argility’s Andrew Blatherwick

As we all know retail operations have one of the highest staff turnovers of any industry. We also know that good customer service is more important today than at any other time in history; retaining customer loyalty is proving more and more difficult in a growing, increasingly competitive market both on the high street and online. These two dynamics create a real problem for retailers. When your staff is constantly changing, how do you ensure that they are able to offer the required level of service to keep customers coming back?

The obvious answer is training, but it is not as simple as that. There is training on how to operate the store, the tills, how to take credit cards, manage discounts and the increasingly complex customer loyalty programmes. There is training on stock systems, replenishment of stock and stock counts and then there is also training on how to treat customers. Training is expensive and takes up valuable time. For many it’s an unwelcome burden, especially today when retailers are trying to minimise their cost base to stay competitive in a tough economy.

There is a better solution however. Using the latest technology solutions, retailers can help their staff by walking them through each transaction from start to finish. For starters, if a solution is well designed and configured precisely to the retailer’s processes, the till operation can be very straightforward, therefore requiring less staff training. You can tell if an EPOS solution is effective if any member of staff, no matter how qualified they are, is able to quickly and easily complete a transaction, after all the last thing a customer wants is to have to wait around while they are paying.

The EPOS solution can also go one step further and help staff deliver good customer service while bringing in extra revenue – it can be used to prompt staff at the till: a retailer can prompt the operator to say certain things such as ‘madam would you like some batteries to go with that toy’.

A retailer may also want to ensure its staff are checking for certain legal requirements from customers buying products such as alcohol. The EPOS solution can ensure compliance by making staff confirm they have asked for proof of age before a transaction goes through.

In the back-office the same EPOS solution should be just as helpful to the supervisor or store manager, helping them through various processes in a well-organised, logical manner to ensure each task they carry out is done efficiently. In addition, if the solution is designed and configured to match the retailer’s exact needs it can also ensure management follow correct procedures.

Because all Argility solutions use the latest Microsoft technology, they look and feel familiar to users from the outset. This makes a big difference when employing new staff. To be able to see screens that are familiar to ones they have used before, they can get up to speed much more quickly and start working effectively on the shop floor; the place where they are most needed.

So with the right EPOS and back-office solution, a retailer can significantly reduce the time it takes to train new members of its team, ensuring that they follow the right processes and are able to enhance the customer experience at the point of service while increasing sales by taking advantage of those vital upsell/cross-sell opportunities.

It may be almost impossible to tackle the issue of high staff turnover, so retailers should look to overcome the problems that can be more easily solved. A tailor-made IT solution will keep costs down, increase the productivity of new staff and maximise profits. For further information, visit http://www.argility.com/

About the Author
Andrew Blatherwick has 20 years of experience in retail companies including Boots and Iceland Foods Group. He is one of the founding members of Argility, an international software business focused on supplying EPOS and merchandise management solutions to the retail industry set up in 2007. As executive director Blatherwick is responsible for international business development at Argility and has created channel partners in South Africa, the UK, the Middle East and Germany. He is currently working on establishing the company in the US.