We like to think we’re all given the same information, tools, and technology in order to do our job. Maybe Not.
We know office workers have access to technology and tools. When we think of remote employees, we imagine them working in distant, isolated places. However, that’s not the case. In a study from Buffer, most choose to work from home while remaining fully connected with teams, news and the overall goals of their company.
However, there are a group of remote employees that haven’t had the same access to technology. These include retail assistants, field engineers, tourism agents, hospitality, healthcare, construction workers and more. They are also known as the ‘deskless workers’. Sometimes these team members are also the first face a customer will be greeted by in retail or hospitality — some work behind the scenes in hospitals or the travel industry to deliver vital services.
Unfortunately, many companies have inadvertently abandoned these remote employees with limited access to technology and tools. In one study by Emergence, they found little of the $300 Billion that is spent on business software each year has gone towards servicing and supporting these workers.
It’s little wonder that many remote employees feel forgotten and uninspired. HBR found that the motivation levels of these employee's ranked amongst the bottom three across all roles. This spills over into high turnover rates. Frontline employees in retail, leisure, hospitality and construction have some of the highest turnover rates according to statistics by the Bureau of Labour Statistics:
Leisure and Hospitality 76.7%
Every brand wants to win the customer experience race. To be in the best position to do this, companies must have a digital inclusivity strategy. Companies can grow if they equip their remote employees with access to information to do their jobs while ensuring their efforts are recognized. Companies also need to be able to inspire their employees by allowing them to share their ideas and loop that feedback into improving and innovating on products and services.
Customer experience is an essential factor when customers make a purchasing decision. To date, companies have invested so little into the people who have the most meaningful influence on their daily customer interactions.
Among all customers, 73% point to 'experience' as an essential factor in their purchasing decisions, behind the price and product quality. This data cuts across industries including airlines, retail, banking and hospitality. Source PWC Experience is Everything Report.
Nearly 80% of American consumers say that speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience. Source PWC Experience is Everything Report
Remote and field-based employees can significantly benefit if they have instant access to work messages, important company news and product information from their managers and teams. It helps to increase employee engagement and according to Deloitte, leads to an uptick in productivity, employee retention, positive customer experiences and revenue growth. So if you want more love from your customers, start by connecting with your remote employees first.
”Customers will never love a company until the
employees love it first.”
Just like the other professions across retail and hospitality, Healthcare employees play a pivotal role in delivering superior patient experience. Patient front desk staff, hospital assistants through to surgical services all need to be engaged to provide quality patient care. Front desk employees are frequently the first human touchpoint of contact for patients, visitors and pharmaceutical representatives.
The Journal of Patient Experience reports that engaging customer facing employees impacts service performance, patient satisfaction, likelihood to recommend and value creation.
Patients don’t forget how they felt while they were staying in the Hospital. The difference can be the small talk and a laugh they have with a Hospital assistant or the care they receive from a nurse. Adverse patient satisfaction scores have bottom-line consequences. It’s common knowledge that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services attach a portion of the reimbursement to patient satisfaction scores on the HCAHPS survey.
Improving employee productivity hinges on engagement and the relationship between the two is indisputable. Consequently there is enormous potential to improve customer experience, grow revenue and brand leadership by getting the customer facing employee experience right.
Six years worth of research by Forrester tells us to start on these three elements to re-engage your frontline employees.
They want to know what’s important and making progress every day toward that work with support and the freedom to do it.
Share your ideas and belief in the goals and values of the company.
Provide technology and tools to help employees get their important work done.
Leaders should consider a digital inclusivity strategy that supports all workers to use, and benefit from, the best tools and technology. For remote employees to succeed in their work, they need to stay connected to the company and know what they need to achieve. Remote customer-facing staff often work part-time or contracted hours. Which means they have few opportunities for connection with the corporate office and can feel cut off from the rest of the company. They need the same access to information that everyone else has in the company so they can do their job but also connect with the bigger vision.
Remote customer-facing employees have a personal mobile device, yet can’t connect to work.
That’s a missed opportunity.
The CentricMinds mobile app keeps frontline workers connected to the objectives and culture of the business using news, employee campaigns and stories and provides meaningful, transparent task management so they can perform at their best.
Use article publishing to post new content and enhance the delivery of information.
Frontline employees who encounter security, safety or quality issues on shifts can record and identify hazards and report them to their units. This provides an opportunity for frontline employees to take part in continuous improvement.
Use collaboration features to capture and report information to increase improvement.
Remote employees now have equal opportunity to share back with their teams and managers. Now you can gather their input and feedback and incorporate into strategic conversations and company initiatives.
Use knowledge sharing to build discussions and capture employee sentiment.
Frontline workers need relevant, bite-sized packets of information so they can solve problems fast while remaining productive. Now they can instantly access step by step tasks, and receive notifications and alerts, stay updated with the latest product or procedure information.
Use task management to organize and keep track of tasks and work effectively.
When employees and teams know that the results of their efforts are appreciated, they feel more satisfied, energized and committed. It’s easy to introduce an informal recognition program using the app. Managers and peers can post endorsements and ‘shout outs’ to individuals that display behavior aligned to company values.
Use the Team Endorsements feature within the Team Directory to recognize the excellent work or behaviors of individuals.
Now, frontline workers can find and message their managers or teammates if they have an issue or emergency.
Use mentions and team directory to find and message contacts.
Equip your frontline employees with on the spot information to new products, promotions, processes or procedures so they can provide more knowledgeable service and better customer results.
Use the document management feature to access catalogues, products, promotion information.
Remote frontline employees across health, retail, hospitality and travel put the ‘kind’ into humankind and deliver some of the most significant and essential interplays that brands have with their customers. There are some 2.7 billion remote and deskless workers and every day, every minute they are the difference between realizing better customer outcomes and thriving businesses.
A colossal potential of more engaged remote employees -
2.7 billion chances, to be precise.
By giving them fast access to fit for purpose information, collaboration and communication tools, they can perform their job well. The outcomes?
You’ll have more engaged staff, satisfied customers, better brand leadership and possibilities for growth.