Preparation for busy periods is essential to maintaining a level of service that will meet customer expectations. Lengthy waiting periods and disorganisation can quickly destroy once glowing reputations.
Despite a difficult past year, there’s cross-government agreement as to the need for active, healthy lifestyles and it’s of paramount importance that our industry exceeds expectations.
Not simply for the good of your organisation but to create long-term support for programs that have the capacity to change the face of fitness and food poverty for years to come.
Keep consistent and sincere communication with your customers
All impressions are important in business, whether they reveal chinks in your armour or highlight your already incredible standards.
When you do make mistakes, empathise with your customers, and use these experiences as opportunities to develop contingency plans for future reference. Sincere and regular communication can facilitate customer loyalty and help alleviate any lingering worries about their experiences.
Customers and clients are far more likely to be accepting and flexible about changes of plan if you make it clear from the outset, or as soon as you are aware of the disruption.
Most customers are aware that changes of venue due to weather or transport issues are unavoidable. Just keep them up to date with developments and they are more likely to trust your resolve and judgement.
Organise ahead of time with your staff
Communication is such ubiquitous piece of advice that it may seem unnecessary however, it’s importance simply can’t be overstated. Often your most seasoned staff are well-versed in how busy periods work.
They understand where the bottlenecks are, what the most common queries are and how to brainstorm quick and efficient solutions. Use their knowledge to build effective arrangements for those peak periods.
Don’t underestimate the time your staff will need to prepare for changes either. Develop lines of communication that your staff can use consistently. It will be their primary tool for alerting you to problems and will streamline your decision-making processes.
If your staff are working overtime, then show your appreciation. Words of encouragement, healthy snacks or even a team meet to celebrate your success are especially important during peak periods.
Pay attention to staffing when you’re organising ahead of time. Historic understaffed situations mean you need to anticipate the same or more customers, so keep staff on hand to fill in. It could be private contractors or an apprentice, either way, invest in staffing for the sake of a smoother service.
Streamlining and automating common tasks
During peak periods, you’ll likely see an increase in customer and client requests. It may be mundane but preparing internal and external customer engagement methods will save you and your team time in busy periods.
Saving email templates of frequently asked questions, adding an FAQ page, or updating your FAQs online and repeating most requested information in person is essential to prevent frenzies for information. Keep this information uniform and easily accessible.
Automation can be a clear pathway when there are tasks that are common and time-consuming. Gather ideas and suggestions of how to increase the efficiency of your methods, automate reminder emails about kit and hydration and use your social media to highlight areas that usually have problems.
Invest in the type of software platforms that helps you automate in advance before the big rush. Coordinate Sport’s software, built for the activities sector can help you produce effective and efficient administrative automation in half the time.
Manage expectations for customers and clients
If you have experience of how busy those peak periods become, don’t overextend yourself in order to secure work you simply can’t manage. Be honest with yourself and your team about what is feasible.
If you have only held two coaching sessions running simultaneously, then you don’t want to commit to six until you have the logistical capacity to maintain that. Manage expectations for customers and clients, so they know when you are likely to be busy. If you let them know in advance, you might be able to reduce your peaks and troughs to a more stable schedule.
Create human expectations for the need for breaks
It can sometimes be tempting to overextend yourself to prepare for peak periods that might overextend you further. When you’re preparing, remember there’s always tomorrow.
If something new or pressing comes in during this time, don’t try to multi-task to address it. Prioritise the most pressing issues or break them up into smaller tasks and make sure you delegate them. Lead as though you mean for others to follow your example.
Recognise that you’re just human and that humans need breaks. It is neither healthy nor achievable to run yourself into a complete burnout. It’s essential for you and your reams mental health to take breaks, recognise accomplishments and validate your efforts.
Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you should miss out on how great it is to be busy. Remember busy periods are also an indication of success. Take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labour.