1. Utilize vertical and horizontal communication
When we think of communication, a lot of the time peer-to-peer or “horizontal” communication is what comes to mind. While this is definitely important, building up methods of employee-to-manager or “vertical” communication has benefits as well. When employees can easily connect with their managers and even higher authorities, it streamlines processes where issues arise or questions need answered to better serve customers. Conversely, when there’s a shortage of stock or a known issue that has arisen in other stores, managers can communicate solutions preemptively to better equip their frontline workers. Using a dedicated tool to manage this communication can also allow for a degree of autonomy in stores. Marketing Resource Management (MRM) tools in particular allow the sales force to assess trends in their area and adapt their in-store materials to the customers’ needs.
2. Utilize video and voice calls for ongoing training and career development
Many companies are getting more familiar with remote solutions to continue working through the COVID-19 pandemic, but even once stores are fully open again video and voice calls will remain excellent tools for training and career development. Many employers feel that “over-training” their employees leads to employees leaving the company, but in reality, it’s a great way to show your employees that you are invested in their personal development. As employees build expertise in your industry, they are able to conduct business in a more efficient way, and your customers are exposed to more knowledgeable sales reps. Investing in training programs can increase your profit margin by as much as 24% as sales reps become more comfortable with your sales process. 1
3. Conduct regular site visits
Visiting your frontline workers allows you to take a look at how they operate with the tools and knowledge you’ve given them. Oftentimes the telephone game of passing information from manager to manager to your front line can end up with less-than-stellar results. Your sales reps may not know why they operate the way they operate, and this leads to deficiencies in customer service and sales. Just as often, your frontline employees may develop “short cuts” or other non-standard methods that make interactions with customers more pleasant and efficient. These divergent ways of operating can be celebrated and spread to other stores – so long as there’s no trade off in quality of interaction. Employees feel valued when you ask for their input, leading them to become more engaged in their jobs. Highly engaged employees can turn out 21% greater profitability according to Gallup!2
4. Embrace the mobile revolution
Don’t tie your frontline workers to desks! Using mobile sales tools allows your cashiers to become sales reps as well. Allowing your employees to access pricing, promotional information, and inventory data at the touch of a button leads to greater customer satisfaction by eliminating steps like “checking in the back.” Customers are also able to easily identify an employee with a mobile device as a resource for them, leading to a better experience when seeking information on inventory in other stores, or which products apply to a specific promotion.
5. Set company goals AND store goals
Large companies often have overarching goals for the month, the quarter, the year, etc. This is great but sometimes you have to wonder, do your frontline employees actually know about your goals? Being transparent about your goals helps your employees understand what they’re working for rather than adopting an “I’m doing this because you told me to” ideology. Working with individual stores to create specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and tangible (SMART) goals increases employee ownership of duties even further. Knowing what they are working for and that they are reasonably able to reach goals improves employee satisfaction, leading to higher morale and lower turnover rates.
About Weber Associates
Weber Associates is a Columbus, OH-based consulting firm. Since 1985, we have blended the creativity of a marketing agency with the analytical rigor of a consultancy to help our clients solve real sales and marketing challenges so they can significantly grow revenues and customer loyalty.