In recent years, retail, foodservice, and hospitality brands have strived to improve the customer experience. From loyalty programs to voice of customer initiatives to the digitization of customer experience, it has been assumed that by investing heavily in the customer, brands will become a category leader. While these efforts have resulted in some progress, they fail to address the most critical part of a customer’s experience—the human interaction between frontline employees and customers. By empowering frontline teams, brands can inspire true brand loyalty and deliver the exceptional in-location experience customers expect.
At the Future Stores conference, Nudge Rewards’ Chief Customer Officer, Jordan Ekers, discussed how investing in the employee experience can be an incredible way to deliver more effective customer experience. “The experience gap is, that we’ve created great programs that have raised customer expectations, but we haven’t empowered our employees to meet these expectations,” Jordan said. “We believe that employee experience is the next big transformation in the world of retail.”
Frontline employees still play a vital role in the buying experience of customers, especially in speciality stores. Nearly 50% of PwC’s “Future of Customer Experience” survey respondents cited “unknowledgeable employees” as a driver for switching brands. “If you walk into a location and an associate does not understand how to deliver on your brand promise or what the new promotion is, that’s a missed opportunity to drive a transactional behavior,” Ekers explained.
The following are three ways you can work with your employees to improve frontline performance and supercharge your CX plan:
1. Gather behavioral data
Frontline employee-facing tools that promote engagement and collaboration can help you understand the performance and execution at top performing locations. They can also help you identify key employee behaviors that are driving location success.
2. Replicate proven behaviors
Once you know which employee behaviors are driving success, then you can replicate them across locations. Leveraging top-down, bottom-up, and peer-to-peer communication, can help frontline employees adopt proven best practices and solve challenges in real-time.
3. Mobile Evolution
To improve the employee experience, brands need to provide their employees with the tools, resources, and support they need to do great work. Start by reaching employees where they already are—on their mobile devices. Using a familiar channel, brands can better engage their employees and help them feel more connected to organizational goals and brand.
“I want to inspire the retail industry to care more about their people. We know that associates want to do an exceptional job, yet the tools that we’ve put in their hands to date have not empowered them to do that,” Ekers noted. To close the experience gap, retailers must find new ways to communicate with and engage their frontline associates to meet elevated customer expectations and deliver memorable customer experiences.