When we think about entrepreneurs of the U.K, we often think of famous faces like Richard Branson, Deborah Meaden and James Dyson. Some would say their success is down to a natural flair for business, however, the reality is that every entrepreneur has to work hard to be successful and our postmasters are no exception.
The Post Office network is run by many entrepreneurial postmasters who as well as being small business owners, are also working hard to grow their business. And every year, we celebrate their success at the Retail Sale Awards.
With the final few weeks left in the Post Office financial year, and the 2018 ceremony just a few months away, branches have everything to play for to secure a place at this year's Awards. In the run up to the celebration, we revisit the secrets to success of last year’s winners, as featured in past issues of One magazine.
Shaun Shanmugathas at Hendon Central branch won Best Mails branch, Main
Shaun’s Post Office career spans 27 years and he has worked in 40 different branches. Shaun’s strength lies with Mails, and his devotion to Drop & Go has led his team to win the Retail Sales Awards’ Best Mails Branch twice, in 2015 and 2017.
His interview featured in the November issue of One magazine and although it focused on Christmas, there are plenty of lessons to take forward throughout the year, especially during seasonal peaks such as Mother’s Day (this weekend!), Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
Shaun said: “During peak periods, such as at Christmas, we tend to get new Mails customers walking through our doors, and they often don’t know what service they need.
The best way to work through them quickly is to find out straight away what they need by asking the ‘five Ws’ – what are you posting, where is it going, what’s the value, would you like it to arrive tomorrow, and would you like a signature on delivery?
“However during busier times, we go through the queue and ask each customer what they need, before they get to the counter. Sometimes they only need forms, so you can deal with them straightway.
“I also have a dedicated counter for Drop & Go, and customers can see that moving faster. I tell them about this service, so next time they come they’ll use Drop & Go instead. I tell them, ‘time is money, and we’re offering a free service so you don’t have to queue’.
“Drop & Go isn’t just for regular customers – new and seasonal customers can use the service as well.”
Shaun and his team keep a close eye on the local supermarkets and run special initiatives to keep the customers happy and coming back.
He said: “We put on some retail promotions, like Buy One Get One Free on boxed Christmas cards. I like to go to the local supermarkets and see what deals they have on wrapping paper – if they’re selling two metres of wrapping paper for £2.99, I’ll do five metres for £1.99. Little things like that can be a big boost during the Christmas period.”
Which of Shaun’s top tips could you integrate into your branch to improve your customer’s experiences?
Stay tuned as you can learn from the best Financial Services branch next week!