C-Store Customer Survey Software Strengthens the Customer Experience

C-Store customer survey software strengthens the customer experience by collecting important customer feedback directly as they shop. It may take courage and patience, but who better than your customers know what they want? It can be painful to hear, but learning abut problems directly and quickly can save time and help you to keep customers coming back.

Blind Spots to C-Store Customer Experience

Of course, industries standards, your culture and your management accountability systems must be the main focus of your work. However, many systems and people have blind spots due to bias and limitations that allow mistakes or missed information to impact store performance. Gathering the right information from customers provides a perspective to be considered that is not biased on the goals of the company or staff.

Ideally, your c-store survey process is accurate simple, timely and unbiased. The easier it is for customers to use it the more likely they are to participate. Of course, easy may mean less data so interpretation may be harder. We must, however, not inconvenience our customers who are paying us for the convenience we provide.

A few items that c-store operators tell us are important when surveying customers:

C-Store Customer Survey Software – Important Stuff

  1. Make it quick
  2. Limit questions
  3. Do not get in the way of their shopping
  4. No pressure allowed
  5. Survey results are easily shared with managers and staff
  6. In-store surveys have higher participation
  7. Link to loyalty programs
  8. Use the data
  9. Accept bad news
  10. Provide analysis information so time of day helps to pinpoint solutions
  11. Establish norms so its easy to no when good or bad things are happening
  12. Try different questions, locations and methods of surveys

C-Store Performance- Related blogs and links

You may also like a related blog regarding The 4 Components to a Balanced Scorecard to Optimize Your C-Store Performance.

C-Store Customer Survey Software – Product Information.

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C-Store Employee Retention – Two Birds with One Stone

C-Store employee retention is a must-measure goal for any successful operation. A nice benefit of working to retain employees is that often the very work that helps keep them also makes them a better asset to the company. C-Store training programs are like the stone that gets two birds. It makes the employee work more efficient and effective and helps them to stay with the company. The retention benefit derives from their personal satisfaction of knowing how to do the job well AND by having the opportunity to be promoted as they developer new and better skills.

Low C-Store Turnover Provides Time for Important Work

If too many employees quit or have to be fired, managers must spend time hiring and providing basic training. While its inevitable to spend some time hiring, too much turnover requires too much time away from other store operational activities. Additionally, the training for new hires is typically the most fundamental tasks just to allow the employee to operate at a minimal level. When the average employee tenure is longer, there is the option to spend time on more advanced training topics like upselling and store manager activities.

Ironically, the time that is required to train new hires can be provided to help avoid some of the turnover issues. That is, by providing training some of the staff will increase skills. With higher skills there is better performance and more satisfaction – both from the employee and the manager. With better skills there often follows better results, possible promotions and job satisfaction. A positive cycle can build leading to improved retention. So training can become a positive tool to keep employees rather than simply the lost time needed to get a new person up to speed to fill the empty slots.

C-Store Growth Needs Employee Retention

If you are a growing operation, then C-store employee retention is even more important. With new stores there must be additional managers and staff. The ability to have a manager that knows the company procedures and culture at a new store simplifies the challenges of adding new capacity.

Retraining and building culture with new staff is time-consuming and expensive. It is, however, a necessary part of building an operation that runs well – one that will achieve its goals. There are several key drivers that impact c-store retention.

Employee Compensation Needs Impact Turnover

Despite our best efforts to provide a great work environment, there is a need to earn enough money. Each person has different needs, desires and motivation. While nearly everyone wants more money, many strive to achieve higher incomes. For highly motivated individuals, higher pay is often a necessary part of staying with a company. With such motivation there is a high fit towards learning and fully engaging with the company opportunities. A driven person is a good candidate for training to take on new responsibilities. When there is a fit with motivation, capability and training employee develop thrives. It is a win for both the company and the staff. It helps the company to have candidates to fill open slots and provides the employee a chance to improve their careers and make more money.

C-Stores Need Great Managers

As part of a development process, the company gets employees that can work smarter and achieve more. The employee gains new skills and the company wins. During the training, it is easy to pick out staff that are quick learners. Further, their attitude and goals become clear. A good coach or mentor who understands people and the company culture can help ambitious employees go further. It is easy to see a good fit.

Two Birds with One Stone

As such, the development of staff makes them better in their current job and identifies candidates for promotion. Any work that helps to keep good staff and develops store managers is a double win. Some call this approach getting two birds with one stone. Using training that has a clear path to management positions makes it possible to both train new staff and find great candidates for promotion. Everybody wins.

Develop C-Store Managers and Retain Your Best Employees: More C-Store Development Tips

If you found this idea useful, you may enjoy a 40 second video with a great example of how one DM trained a store manager to address labor hours in her scheduling.
There is also an article in CSP Daily with 3 ways to improve employee performance.

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C-Store Maintenance Software Saves Time

C-Store maintenance software saves time spent chasing maintenance assignments. No one wants to nag but the store manager is responsible to keep the store fully functional. If they do not know the status of maintenance work, then they must chase the work or risk having the problem left unfixed. Let’s face it, your store managers just want the pumps pumping and the coolers cooling. They spend their time hiring and training so the customers keep coming back. No one wants to waste time chasing someone to be sure the pump will get fixed.

Facility Maintenance – Key Points

C-Store Managers Want to Know:

  1. if the job is scheduled
  2. if the problem has been fixed

The Maintenance Team Wants to Know:

  1. if the store staff have done all the trouble shooting
  2. if the maintenance team is needed or if a vendor must be called

Your facility management team is happy to help, but too often they waste their time driving to a site only to find a simple reset or existing fix procedure has been skipped. Likewise, the store staff do not want to burden their support team with work that can be done by themselves at the store. Having a system that tracks work and documents the requests helps to both save time chasing work and also helps to identify where misunderstood procedures or troubleshooting can be addressed. Having a document allows senior facility managers to identify areas where training can increase overall productivity of maintenance.

No software can eliminate all the normal errors that people will make, but a simple system can make facility management (store maintenance) a lot easier to track. Having a C-store ticketing management process will identify what is overdue, who needs training and when real problems are being missed.

Ideally, your maintenance management KPIs are included with your operations systems so your operations knows when equipment is getting in the way of c-store results.

Our clients tell us c-store maintenance/facility management have a few key items that make it possible to save time.

C-Store Maintenance Software – The Keys to Success

  1. Logging an issue must be quick
  2. Make the proper assignment
  3. Include pictures
  4. Integrate with your daily operations check list
  5. Have a list and track by due date/assignments
  6. Use mobile notifications
  7. Track changes and communicate completion
  8. Provide analysis information regarding vendor history
  9. Identify overdue work
  10. Pinpoint unreliable equipment

C-Store Operations – Related blogs and links

You may also like a related blog regarding C-Store operational simplicity.
For a business school point of view, you may enjoy Simplicity-Minded Management by Ron Ashkenas in the Harvard Business Review.

Click to learn more about : C-Store maintenance software.

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C-Store Shift Planning – Getting Labor Hours Right

C-Store Shift Planning

C-store shift planning – getting labor hours right – is one of the most challenging jobs. Having the correct hours allocated by shift ensures you can maintain the customer experience while keeping costs in line with store sales. Getting the labor hours right is a key to ensure you have good operations with the labor costs that match the store sales when they happen. Too much – you hurt profits, too little – you risk bad service and lost sales.

Many companies perform c-store shift planning with a critical view of sales and customer count by hour. There is always need for cleaning and stocking, but scheduling the hours to match traffic allows the store to have the necessary staffing and keep the hours on track to hit performance goals. There are only so many hours available so it is key to assign them at the right time.

Key Data for C-Store Shift Planning:

  1. total sales and customers by hour
  2. same day comparison for several weeks to see trends
  3. day of week compared to other days
  4. average sale, discounts, loyalty
  5. inside versus outside traffic

The Right Labor Hours

With a good understanding of historical sales by the day of week and broken down by hour, shift labor can be scheduled to match the busy times. There are times when the registers will be the most busy and times when other tasks must be done. Together, a manager can utilize the hours to match the operational needs with the store sales.

Related Information – C-Store Operations Assessment

You may want to take an assessment of your C-Store operations It provides a written summary along with ideas for new things to consider: C-Store Performance Assessment.

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C-Store Managers – What Do You Need to Increase Sales?

We asked our best C-Store Managers – What Do You Need to Increase Sales?

We often work with top stores that already have great customer service, nice clean stores and top results. We expected to hear that they needed more money for new hires and bigger bonuses for increased sales results. We certainly heard about more money with a few of the responses. Everyone wants to hire good people and be rewarded for achieving good results. Good companies, however, already pay well.

What we heard the most may surprise you. We took the feedback from dozens of top managers over the course of several months of sales consulting. We watched and listened to what they needed to increase upselling and drive net profits. Perhaps more interesting was what we did not hear as the most important needs:

NOT On the Most Needed List

  1. More Money for Store Managers
  2. Loyalty Programs
  3. Better Locations

Clearly, the above items can help increase sales, but these store managers were focused on addressing what they thought they could control, yet did not cost a lot of money. That is, what things can they manage as a company that impact sales without hurting profits. So here are the top items they listed:

Top Items Store Managers Need to Increase Sales

  1. Cigarette Multi-Pack Discounts
  2. Better Promotions
  3. Gas Toppers that Drive Traffic Inside (e.g., Food)
  4. Ready to Eat Food Options
  5. Visits from Owners and Top Managers
  6. Bathrooms in Full Working Order

They brainstormed items and ranked the most important. They felt they could work with suppliers to use promotional money that was available to help their staff increase sales by providing high value to customers while maintaining the margins due to supplier incentives. Even signs can be provided by suppliers with new products or hot specials that matter to customers. Of course, food is such a big area these days. Maybe the most surprising was the simple things they wanted from top management – store visits and help with maintenance items. Their staff is much more likely to do just a little extra when they see their owners and managers in the store motivating them and keeping the store a nice place to be proud to work in.

Related Information – C-Store Operations Assessment

If you work on things like up-selling, you probably care a lot about C-Store Operations and Performance. Take a free assessment of your C-Store operations. You will receive a written summary along with ideas to try to make operations a little better: Rate Yourself – C-Store Performance Assessment.

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