Store Relationship Management (SRM) equips multi-unit enterprises with the tools needed to take a systematic approach to improving the performance of all of their stores. Store performance is typically defined as a combination of individual store’s financial performance and metrics that measure delivery against the company’s brand promise (e.g. service delivery standards, customer satisfaction, etc.). The SRM approach creates a virtuous circle of serving front-line managers of stores and holding them accountable for operational results.
SRM starts by ensuring every in-store management team understands precisely where their performance stands relative to other stores “like them” in the system. It then strives to optimize time spent with corporate field teams on in-store visits. Next, store management “signs up” for performance action plans, visible to both field and corporate leaders, and detailing each store’s targeted outcomes. On top of these processes, SRM then streamlines communication in all directions, separating “signal from noise” based on each employee’s role. Finally, the SRM approach provides the tools that corporate and field teams use to make decisions on how to best mobilize resources in support of store performance. These five categories make up the “pillars” that hold up Store Relationship Management.
The Five Pillars
The following provides a brief introduction to the processes and tools supported by each of the five “pillars” of the Store Relationship Management Approach:
The StoreCard™: Improving store performance starts with an explicit measurement of current store performance that is understood by Operations Leadership, Field Management, and in-store Management teams. A “StoreCard” is a standard way to discuss store performance for any store in the system. In addition to an overall measure of the store’s performance, StoreCards put a focus on the unit’s metrics relative to similar stores. With a StoreCarding system in place, no in-store management team should ever not know exactly where their unit’s performance stands.
Store Visits: The second pillar of SRM focuses on all processes and interactions involved with field team’s visits and follow up interactions with each of their assigned stores. Companies make enormous investments in field teams who represent the face of the company for most stores. The Store Visit is the number one potential opportunity for “corporate” to influence and support management teams and floor associates. It is the store visit that provides the best opportunities to coach, guide, and change the behavior of in-store associates. It is also during store visits that field professionals can best gauge what each store needs to deliver on its commitments.
The StorePlan™: Every store participates in the same service delivery system, and yet, every store faces some challenges and opportunities unique to its market. It is in the StorePlan that each in-store management team makes its commitment to improved performance. Whether it targets better execution of the enterprises existing standard procedures or if it targets unique issues confronting a single store, the Store Plan provides a written plan on what Store Management will target for improvement in a given period.
Store Communications: The key to building fantastic retail corporate, field, and in-store teams are channels of communication that are built specifically for the multi-unit enterprise. The communication plan at most chain store companies can be described as a cacophony of stakeholders broadcasting across the entire system…all at once. The fourth pillar of SRM includes tools and methods optimized for separating the “signal from the noise” based on the role of the team member using the system. In order to lead, corporate managers need to get their multiple (and frequently competing) messages to the right people at the right time. In turn, Store Management professionals need a trusted way to ensure that the learning that happens in the field gets back to those in the corporate office who can make resource decisions, and in a way that they can consume the sheer volume of those learnings.
Store Support Management: The last pillar of SRM focuses on the accountability and management of people and interactions that support your stores. In other words, “the field.” Store Support Management teams help corporate leadership, as well as Regional and Area Managers, better manage the activities of their people in the field. Automating multiple cross-geography functions give high-level corporate managers visibility into the productivity of their field. For instance, territory results that include high-performing stores can easily mask multiple poor performing units. StoreCards and StorePlans across a district can score district performance by ranking each store in that district versus stores in their similarity class. In this way, senior leadership can better rank the performance of their field managers.
Store Relationship Management provides multi-unit enterprises with means to systematically go after the improvement of every, single store unit. By improving processes in the above five areas, mutli-unit operations teams can make material, and continual improvements in the performance of stores across their entire system.
Learn more about Store Relationship Management and see what it can add to your team.