Is There Anyone Here Who Can Help Me?

April 10, 2024

by Carrie Bradfield

Customer Service Meets Demand Wfm Blog Thumbnail

We’ve all been there. In the middle of a shopping trip, we’re looking for something in the store section where we think it should be—but it’s not there. You look around for someone to help, and the phrase comes to mind: “Is there anyone here who can help me?” Maybe you go on a mission to find someone; perhaps you wander around, continuing your silent search of the shelves.

When we’re in a retail store, there’s some expectation that help will be nearby when you need it. How can a retailer best meet that expectation? Many retailers pursue dividing the store into zones and scheduling workers to those zones throughout their shifts. The workers are responsible for resetting merchandise and keeping the area tidy for customers, but they’re also nearby when people need help. To make this happen, the retail team members must be scheduled to those zones when customers shop there.

But how do you predict when and where a customer will need help? Let’s look at some of the tools available to help store managers match their staff to be where customers need help when they need it.

Forecasting Customer Demand

One of the most basic parts of this equation is to figure out when customers will be in your store so you know when to staff those areas in case customers need assistance. Using multiple streams of historical traffic or sales data along with current events, weather, and promotional calendars, Legion Workforce Management’s (WFM) AI-driven forecasting models can predict customer demand across the store by department, channel, or location, giving a good idea of when you require staff in a given area of your store, and how many team members will be required for the volume of customers you’re seeing.

Scheduling to Zones

Sometimes, projected demand shows that certain areas are busy while others are less busy throughout the day. Moving people from zone to zone maximizes associate productivity throughout their shift and is a way to give your associates longer shifts. With zone-based scheduling, you can easily flex to the needs across your store, ensuring associates are in the right places when your customers need them.

In some organizations, team members need to maintain associate vitality throughout their shifts. To meet these needs, associates are often asked to move from one zone to another every 3 or 4 hours. This type of zone assignment helps keep employees engaged and sharpens their expertise while they use different skills in each area of your store.

With Legion WFM’s schedule optimization tools, your organization can set up ways to encourage movement from zone to zone while also covering the forecasted labor demand.

Delivering a Frictionless Omnichannel Experience

Retail stores play a key role in omnichannel order fulfillment. To deliver on customers’ desire to have multiple buying options, from ordering online, picking up in the store, or drive up, for example, associates often have to flex between channels to meet demand throughout the day. This may also mean they must flex between picking and packing orders and their front-of-store customer-driven work. Combining those roles into one shift lets associates seamlessly transition between task work and covering their customer-facing zone work, enhancing that omnichannel layer over the retail in-store experience.

Day-of Changes

Last-minute changes in customer traffic and team members calling in sick are just two disruptions that might mean your schedule needs to be updated during the day. At that point, it’s not always ideal to go back to the digital schedule to make updates. The changes need to be made quickly and easily on the sales floor. Legion can help facilitate this type of operations challenge by providing day sheet printouts of the hour-by-hour schedule, with space for changing and writing in zoning assignments across each shift. This makes it quick and easy for floor managers to respond to the store’s daily needs without spending time record-keeping on their devices.

No, Really…Where Are They?

Finally, the last question any manager wants to ask is the same question shoppers may ask: Where is the staff right now?

Using Legion’s Real Time Attendance tracking gives managers visibility at a glance of who’s in the store, who is late for their shift, who’s on break or needs to go on break, and who’s in what zone right now.

Put all of these things together, and you have a scheduling solution that works for every customer who wants to find what they’re looking for easily and associates who want diverse assignments throughout their day.

Discover how Legion Demand Forecasting and Automated Scheduling support zoning in scheduling. Request a demo to see them in action.