Me and Business Support Manager – Postmaster Haj and Business Support Manager Sarah

Me and Business Support Manager – Postmaster Haj and Business Support Manager Sarah

Earlier this year we introduced a team of Business Support Managers. This team is there for a Postmaster from up to six weeks before they even open a branch, through the first six months of running a branch, if it’s needed.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard new and experienced postmasters and members of the Business Support team to understand how they’ve been working together.

This week, meet:

The Postmaster: Haj, Albert Place branch, Manchester

The Business Support Manager, Sarah Eatock, NW England

Haj relied on BSM Sarah when his staff member who had been trained on back office tasks left.

Read the full story below.


Postmaster Haj

How did you get in touch with your Business Support Manager?

What we already do, with our pharmacy and Nisa convenience store, fits in well with the Post Office, so when Sarah visited and asked if we’d be interested in running a Post Office, we said yes. That’s when the business relationship began, right from the start and she’s supported ever since.

What support has your BSM given you?

Sarah has helped us with:

  • What to expect in general
  • Security advice as due to the sort of area we’re in, we needed a secure counter
  • Supporting us with training, back office, looking at figures and giving advice accordingly.
  • Practical advice on running a branch and increasing sales

When our staff member who had been trained on the back office tasks left, Sarah came in and supported us in the branch. She helped us rectify the issues it caused and get our accounting back on track. She arranged for a trainer to come into the branch and train us on the job, which was very good and really supportive.

Tell us a bit about your branch

I am a pharmacist originally and our goal was to create a community hub. We are on a quite poor estate and we knew people needed a pharmacy and convenience store (a Nisa), which we were already providing, but our customers were crying out for a Post Office in the area too, people often mentioned it in conversation.

Now, all within the same store, we have our convenience store, our pharmacy and now since March 2019, the new Post Office. It works well in this tough trading environment, as people who come in for one thing will use the other services. All three complement each other well.

We do a lot of other services as part of the pharmacy, we are a Healthy Living pharmacy, we give out information on healthy lifestyles and support children’s health, we also support vulnerable adults and people with dementia, so we already understand many of the community’s needs.

All in all, how has it been working together?

“The experience with my Business Support Manager Sarah has been very positive right from the start and has helped us get the branch running well.”


BSM Sarah

Tell us about a branch you’ve worked with recently

Albert Place Post Office, which opened in March 2019, a good team.

What support did you give the branch?

“We gave them the initial training, but then the member of staff who was fully trained to do a lot of the more complicated and back office tasks left. They were left on their own and needed support on balancing, cash declarations, rem out, increasing customer sessions, customer service, how to optimise their retail side. Their store has a Nisa convenience shop and meeting rooms for local community use, eg the local councillor holds a monthly council meeting there).

After their key staff member left, it was a bit like they had to start all over again, they needed my support filling in the gaps. Now that we’ve done the balancing, got the customers coming in, got the trainer back to make sure all the staff are confident on their tasks and got the basics like cash declarations 100% right for the past 3 weeks, we can now look to improving the retail.

We gave advice on how to make the most of the footfall, as the sales data showed that a lot of customers were coming in to use the Post Office, but not spending in the shop. Since 4 March, as a brand new network location, he has gone from no Post Office customers to 400 customer sessions a week, which is great progress.

We’ll soon be starting an exit survey, to ask customers what they’d like to see in the shop, to update the stock with things people that will bring customers in and increase sales.”

All in all, how has it been working together?

“I enjoyed working with Haj and the team, they’ve had their ups and downs, with staffing changes, personal events and the pressures of running a new business and Post Office. But now the team has had that lightbulb moment and are set up really well for future success.”

 “I love helping people. It’s the relationship that makes it special, that they are pleased to see you when you go into the branch. I like that you’re not just ticking a box, they’re genuinely finding your support helpful.”