Choice is not always a good thing. When it comes to getting the best results from using task management tools in the store, consolidating and optimizing is the best approach, says Fabrice Haiat, CEO and co-founder of YOOBIC
Prior to 2020, many retailers were digitizing the store by providing store staff with electronic devices to make tasks easier and faster to execute and more rewarding for staff, all in pursuit of a better customer experience. The pandemic hastened this journey to the point that consumer apps like WhatsApp, once banned in the workplace, became commonplace for communications between staff and even customers for things like click notifications. and pick up.
Multiple new tools and applications were introduced with the best of intentions, to manage the unique circumstances of the pandemic, but the result has been a plethora of solutions that have created fatigue among employees who have to juggle between them and, in some cases, new areas of inefficiency and lack of transparency.
As staff jump from one tool to another to find information, they could be taking advantage of that extra time lost with customers, something more rewarding for both parties. An American study of Cornell University found that switching devices consume almost an hour each, and it also leads to errors because staff can’t keep track of what’s going on in all the different tools being used.
Multiple tools also means that training, and therefore onboarding, takes longer for both new and existing staff. In addition, IT costs are higher in terms of purchasing and managing devices and software license costs. Feature overlap means retailers are paying for features they don’t use and creating additional, non-value-added management headaches.
Getting a complete picture of what’s happening in stores becomes more difficult with multiple devices and systems and limits a retailer’s ability to be agile and strategize for the future.
Many employees simply responded to these pressures by turning to the tools they felt most comfortable with in their personal lives, such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. This resulted in a potential loss of data security and the threat of hacking, as communications began to flow outside the company network and multiple applications were accessed with the same passwords.
However, as our 2022 State of the Frontline Employee Experience poll shows, frontline teams are asking for modern tools to support their work, but they also want an easy and seamless experience in a user-friendly environment, using applications similar to the social networks they are familiar with.
Here are four key actions retailers can take to regain control of in-store devices and tools.
1. Audit existing tools, processes and workflows
Every business has different needs, values and ambitions and any tool used must be aligned with that vision. The needs of every organization and set of users are different, so it’s important to first document them, also talking to employees to see what they want and need. Part of this will be finding out which tools they like to use, which features they think are the most useful, and which features they don’t use.
Work with your technology partner to audit existing processes and tools to understand if this is properly aligned with business goals, satisfying staff, and if redundancies are likely. After this audit, the partner will design an optimal IT organization and architecture where some tools may need to be removed or integrated with the new platform.
2. Consolidate and optimize
The answer to maximizing productivity is an engagement system that integrates the most useful features into a single platform. Choosing the right one among the many available involves starting with the basics:
- It should include a retail task management application so that frontline teams can work autonomously and with simplified task instructions, digitized checklists, and real-time feedback.
- You must have an in-store communication tool to create a strong workplace community, which is important for front-line retail workers because it keeps everyone informed with top-down, bottom-up, and bottom-up communication capabilities. from peer to peer.
- You must have a learning platform to embed learning into the organizational culture and make progression more achievable.
a single digital work platform centralizes these capabilities and also improves visibility through consolidated dashboards of sales, learning, operations and communication data to provide headquarters with real-time actionable insights.
3. Choose a tool designed specifically for frontline employees to ensure adoption:
Mobile priority is essential for frontline employees who are always on their feet and hopping from task to task. By connecting the front line with HQ teams and peers, it helps organizations build community and a sense of belonging.
Micro-learning capabilities make continuous learning and development possible for busy store teams without interrupting their workflow. While task management software that increases productivity, provides front-line support, and creates a feedback loop that enables headquarters to drive operational excellence across all stores. Finally, look for an app that gives HQ real-time visibility into what’s happening in stores.
4. Integrate and focus attention
Existing tools are often already tightly integrated into the organization’s fabric, so it may not be practical to replace each tool separately, so retailers must work to integrate existing tools with the new all-in-one solution.
Choosing an all-in-one digital work tool with integration capabilities means frontline retail teams have a frictionless journey as they have a one-stop-shop for everything they need throughout their workday, without the need to switch tools or log in multiple times. In this way, retailers have the right tools to deliver the employee experience that store associates crave and the experience that customers expect.
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