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Is your business ready for Phase 3?

Handling increased customer demand as you reopen

In recent months, Covid-19 cases in Singapore have plateaued with no big outbreaks or clusters. As social restrictions are slowly lifted and we prepare to enter Phase 3 of the Circuit Breaker, we can return to some semblance of our former lives from before the pandemic while adjusting to the new “normal”.

Of course, with more people out and about, an increase in foot traffic is inevitable and businesses must prepare for a surge in customers while still staying in compliance with Covid-19 safety measures.

These following tips will help you to adapt your business in this pandemic, in managing the crowd while maintaining quality customer service.

Streamlining your business, where less is more

Photo by Arturo Rey on Unsplash

Social distancing and other safety measures will still be enforced in Phase 3. So minimising human contact is going to be one of the key concerns that businesses will need to address. When possible, consider alternative ways that allow for as little contact as possible while still maintaining a pleasant customer experience for all.

Methods you can adopt

  • QR self-ordering – You might have already seen this in many F&B restaurants and cafes: a QR code is placed on the table which the customers scan using their mobile phones to view the menu, place an order, and make the payment from the comfort of their own seats. This feature will be made available on the Qashier Smart POS system as a value-added service in December later this year.
  • Start an online store and delivery service – Heinz launched an online store in just 7 days to allow at-risk customers such as the elderly and front line workers who have no time to visit grocery stores to get easy access to their products. If you run an F&B business, consider launching an online ordering service where customers can either order in advance and pick up in the store, or get their orders delivered directly to them. 
  • Qashier will be launching QashierEats, an online ordering platform with 0% commissions starting in December 2020
  • Social Media – Improve your online presence and sales by starting a social media account. Many small businesses have started selling exclusively on social media. The Circuit Baker is a bakery that sells only on Facebook and Instagram and sells out within minutes of opening their orders each week.
  • Modifying your store structure – Creating a takeout order only area, allowing specific hours for elderly shoppers, maximising the use of space and enforcing a limit to the number of customers at any time
  • Allowing staff to shop for at-risk customers and arranging for delivery directly to their homes
  • Utilising a smart Point of Sale system that accepts credit cards and other contactless payments. 

Making it easy and efficient

Photo by Yu Hosoi on Unsplash

To streamline takeaway operations, you can allow customers to order in advance or make appointments for collection of their orders. Segregating orders into specific time slots for collection allows you to plan for inventory, staffing and time to deal with any supply chain issues. Specific time slots allow for a more structured workflow, limit the number of people in your store, and allow staff to plan out exactly what they need to do.

If your store has popular items or goods that are high in demand, consider having a quick buy section stocked with those goods and if possible, a separate self-checkout area for that section as well.

If there is still a crowd despite your best efforts, it might be a good idea to implement a digital queuing system which automatically sends waiting customers a text message once space is available.

Staff 

Ensure that your team prioritises tasks to keep crowding to a minimum. For example, you can simplify your payment process and improve your table turnover rate. Covid-19 safety measures have already created an innate amount of discomfort and stress for customers and ensuring that your staff are able to cope with the situation will result in happy customers who will return.

Payment

Whether you run a F&B, beauty salon or retail store, you need to be able to accept payments quickly and efficiently. Having social distancing and safety measures in place have also led to an increase in demand for contactless payments.

Having an all-in-one Point of Sale with an integrated payment system like Qashier enables your business to accept all types of contactless payment such as Paywave, major credit/debit cards and e-wallets such as PayLah and Grab Pay. These smart systems even come with bespoke software solutions for specific industry needs, intuitive, easy to use and can be set up within minutes.

This eliminates the need for large and bulky devices that clutter the cashier counter, reduces operational inefficiencies, and is often cheaper to set up and maintain as well!

In addition, many of these smart POS systems come with a cloud-based backend that enables you to get real-time access to all your sales, inventory and staff data as well.

Training

With all these new systems and measures in place, ensure that your team is well trained to avoid any service or operational hiccups. Keep your staff updated with the new rules and regulations and create contingency plans for problems that may arise.

Plan out worse case scenarios and solutions as well. Empower managers to make necessary decisions if problems arise which can be evaluated later on. Consider a soft-opening as well with friends and family to work out any issues that may arise.