We have always done it like that.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 07:31AM
David Osborne

We have always done it like that.

They are the most dangerous words being used in business today.

Business have to adapt and innovate and so do the people working in them.

Retail, Hospitality and Management are all changing rapidly due to changes in customer expectations, trends and technology.

 The rise of online shopping has seen a fall in turn over for some business.


A bricks & mortar business is only going to survive if it can adapt to keep up with its customers, their expectations and give them a good service experience to make them want to come back.



Management must be able to help the staff to help the customers.



Does the staff have the right tools and information to do the job?



If you ask the staff at most places the answer is no.


This leads to stress and staff turn over.

The sad part is in most cases management do not know why it is happening or do not listen to there own staff. 


Rule number 1

I was once told the first golden rule is make it easy for the customer to give you there money. That does not mean accepting all major credit cards although that helps.  It means make the whole experience simple to do and with as little pain as possible even enjoyable if you can.


Possible areas of pain for customers:


The environment.

The establishment is visually unappealing.



The background music is inappropriate or too loud.

The temperature is hot or too cold.

Not enough air flow. (can make some people tired)

Lighting, too low or too many flashing lights.

Not well laid out, they cannot find what they want.

A very large selection of products, its too hard to choose


Staffing issues.

No one to help me.

Staff knows little about what they are selling.

Staff do not seem to want to help, they are to busy talking to each other or texting on their phone.

Staff inappropriately dressed.


Staff not knowing how to:

use the phone system

search the stock database

take special orders

how to handle an unhappy customer


Customer service people need the right tools and information to do the job.


Training helps and in some cases it is a legal requirement.

But there’s more we can do with very little cost that speeds up work flow, cuts down on stress and raises both quality and consistency. 


SOPS. – Standard operating procedures.

A procedure is a step by step list on how to do a task.

Being that the brain processes images more efficiently, info graphics have become very popular as they combine images with a step by step list of how to do it.   

Standard operating procedures (SOPS) in a simple format (info graphic or flow chart) can make the day less stressful for staff as well as speed up the work flow.

If they are not completing a task well or quickly even if they have had training its possible the training was too fast or not backed up with enough practice.

Maybe staff are unsure about tasks they do very infrequently and so because of the lack of repetition and uncertainty the task is performed too slowly, inaccurately or totally botched.  

Easy to access, simple to follow SOPS are every ones friend.

It’s also a great help if you have a high amount of casual or transient staff.

Lower staff stress

Save time

Speed up workflow

Help deliver a product or service of consistent quality & standard every time.

SOPS. in the kitchen.

In the kitchens of cafés and restaurants, a recipe card (an other type of Sops.) with a picture ensures every one is making the food the same way, using the same ingredients. This presents the food item to a set standard.

As well as the other advantages this also helps greatly in controlling costs and with ordering.  

SOPS in the Office.

All businesses have an office component to them. That part of the business that supports the main money making operation of the business. It could be the place

were the ordering is done, the pays, phone contact with customers is made, marketing, record management and all of the money matters are dealt with.

Some businesses provide a type service were all the businesses entire income is derived from the process which take place in the office.

In either case simple to read and easy follow SOPS. can really make a big difference.


Starting with a potential customers incoming phone call.

How the phone is answered.

How questions and information is managed & dealt with.

How messages are passed to the right person with relevant information so that person can get back to the customer quickly with the right information and make that sale.

Written communications are correctly formatted

Content of emails are effective & correct

Privacy is protected (Customer & employee)

The paper trail, what goes where, when and how. (so people can find it)

Having a home for everything that is shared in the office. Making sure people know its important to put it back when they are finished so the next person can find it. Signs often help.

All of these little things help to lower stress and increase productivity.

We wish to thank our regulars and members for their continued support.

We are currently updating the site and plan to add many of the resources and services that have been requested.

Article originally appeared on Retail Hospitality Management (http://retailhospitalitymanagement.com.au/).
See website for complete article licensing information.