With the economy forcing too many merchants to do more with less, customer service standards tend to slide. Not at Shoes For Crews, however.
The merchant sells slip-resistant footwear to the foodservice, hospitality, industrial, healthcare and supermarket industries. While the slowdown at casual dining, hotels, and industrial workplaces have hurt the company, sales to fast-food restaurant chains and healthcare facilities have held up, says president Matt Smith.
West Palm Beach, FL-based Shoes For Crews is lucky: It hasn’t had to cut jobs. In fact, its staff is a 5% larger compared to a year ago, Smith says.
The merchant has managed to improve its in-stock fulfillment rates to more than 94%. It has also reduced picking and packing errors, and increased the efficiency of its customer service department by 25% to 30%, Smith says. How?
Most of this resulted from tightening up its workday policies involving lunch breaks, smoking breaks, and other unaccounted for time. “We used to be very loose,” he notes, “and many CSRs, frankly, took advantage of us.”
Shoes For Crews’ new director of customer service, Marti Johnson mapped out and implemented many improvements, Smith says. “We had to get tough on how much time each CSR actually worked on their computer during the day. Sometimes it didn’t match their time clock.”
For example, a CSR may clock in for work and then go into the break room to make breakfast for 30 minutes. “It’s really amazing what happens when you’re not really paying attention,” he notes.
The merchant is using some of the slower call volume days to spend more time training and retraining its staff. This helps it provide better operational efficiency “and superior overall customer service to our valued customers,” Smith says.