Planning ahead

planning aheadPlanning ahead for the season

I love a bright frosty morning like today’s, don’t you?

But the damp cold weather we’ve been having does nothing much to tempt us outside. And probably isn’t bringing you a flood of passing trade either.

Rather than letting it get you down, make the most of quiet periods, by planning ahead. Take the time to put things in place so you are in a stronger position to capitalise when things pick up.

10 Actions Towards Planning Ahead

Here are my top ten things you could be doing this week that won’t cost you anything but your time, but will certainly go a long way to planning ahead for the coming season and towards your success in 2020.

  1. Set some specific goals for the year.  If you’ve not already done so, take some time to identify what you really want to achieve in 2020, and establish your plan to do this. You know you can’t do this alone, so share your plans with everyone who has a part to play in achieving them, and get their input too so they feel involved.
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  2. Review your staff structure and resources in light of your plan.  Do you have the right people in the right roles to achieve this?  Will you need to hire or develop certain team members to get to where you want to be?
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  3. Take stock of your products and services. What tweaks could you make to improve them to give added value for your customers – something of high value to them, but with minimal effort or investment on your part? Ask your team for their ideas too, they’ll often spot opportunities you miss.
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  4. Where can you generate more profit without compromising on quality or the customer’s experience?  Does your sales mix reflect the high profit items, or are you selling too many of the lower profit items? If so does this reflect a need to train your team how to upsell?
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  5. Review your website; it might be your customers’ first direct touch point on the customer journey. Does it accurately reflect what you are offering and present it in a way that entices your ideal prospective customers to read on and take some action? Is it user friendly and intuitive for customers to follow? Does it make (or imply) any false promises?
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  6. Take the customer journey: involve your team in looking at every aspect of your business from your customers’ perspective.  Draw up a list of areas that need attention, priorities and allocate responsibility amongst your team.
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  7. Now provides a great opportunity for staff training.  Are all the team up to date on all product knowledge, not just in their own departments, but in all parts of the business.  Your customer feedback, customer journey and an analysis of your sales mix may help flag up where knowledge is lacking.
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  8. Plan your promotional activity for the whole year, so you can start collating ideas towards each of these promotions.  This includes reviewing your Christmas promotions, whilst they are still fresh in your mind and making notes of how you can improve on this for next Christmas.
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  9. Get your customer data up to date.  Get in touch with all your existing customers to remind them how much you value their custom by giving them an offer that reflects this, i.e. something you know they will value.
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  10. Review all your customer feedback, whether this is directly from customer comments or feedback forms, or from such sources as TripAdvisor. What can you learn from these, and what are the areas that need attention?

Planning ahead with your training

If training is on your action plan here are some resources to give you a head start: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/resources/customer_service_training_materials-hlt-2/

Take Action

If you only do one thing: Ask each of your team members for their ideas… What would they change if it were their business?

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