Dealing with the rush.

Maria posted an interesting post on Saturday about dealing with the rush. Dealing with “the rush” is probably one of the hardest aspects of customer service. It is something that constantly challeneges companies of all sizes. What is the right mix between understaffed and overstaffed and how do you achieve that correct level of staffing?

The rush you can perdict.
The rush you can perdict is the easiest one to deal with. It is one you should know about and should be prepared for. In Maria’s example, the local businesses know that Comic Con is going to be in that area of San Diego on X date for probably a year or so in advance. It has been happening for a while, so there isn’t much of a suprise about how much extra demand there will be.

Look at last year.
Things change year by year, but probably the best way to get an idea about a rush is to see what type of rush it was last year. If you feel that you were understaffed last year, bring on more people. Look at the sales history, the customer satisfaction data, etc. You may notice one week or three months where things were just a lot busier.

Overstaff.
My personal feeling is that it’s better to overstaff than understaff. Overstaffing is obviously more expensive. It isn’t ideal, but if you overstaff, at least everyone can be helped. Your customers won’t get upset if you’re overstaffed. If you are understaffed, though, customers might not be able to get the help they need. They may leave and they may never go back. If you are in a business that requires customer loyalty, I would suggest overstaffing.

Only the best.
If you are expecting a really busy time, have only the best people working. They should have the most experience and be the best at working well under pressure. You don’t want your employees who get overwhelmed to be working during the busiest time of the year.

Make it clear.
It should be very clear to both customers and employees about what they need to do. Make it so neither group has to ask the most common questions. Have signs pointing to the bathroom, explaining the ordering choices, etc. If these signs answer just a few potential questions, they are worth it.

The rush you can’t perdict.
There will always be a rush you can’t predict. Things will suddenly get really busy or some big event will occur before you have a chance to staff accordingly. That happens and it has to be something you’re prepared for. How to deal with that rush you can’t perdict is tomorrow’s post.

2 Responses to “Dealing with the rush.”

  1. Service Untitled » Dealing with an unexpected rush. - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Aug 01, 07 at 11:02 am

    […] My post on Monday talked about dealing with the rush in general. This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but there was slight confusion. Today’s post talks about how to deal with the rush that is unexpected. […]

  2. Service Untitled » Black Friday Customer Service - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Nov 23, 07 at 6:27 pm

    […] Dealing with the rush […]