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Using Technology to Improve Employee Experience

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As the labor shortage drags on, retail executives are looking for new, innovative ways to attract top talent. However, finding great employees is only part of the answer to solving the current labor situation; retaining them is even more important. Fewer resignations mean fewer hires and thus reduced onboarding and training costs. In many ways, employee retention is significantly preferable to hiring.

Fortunately, the labor shortage has not only made headlines lately but also exposed shortcomings in the current labor model, creating opportunities for retailers to address some of their associates’ most pressing concerns. At the same time, the new technology and software is coming online that can help inexpensively ameliorate their concerns while simultaneously improving your digital infrastructure and expanding omnichannel opportunities for stores. 

Triple-X Retail

No, we don’t mean XXX, so get your minds out of the gutter. In this case we’re talking about the three major experiences involved in omnichannel shopping; UX, EX, and CX, or User Experience, Employee Experience, and Customer Experience. User Experience is a term lifted from software development referring to how people feel after using an application. Was it frustrating or convenient? Complicated or simple? Somewhere in between? These are the kinds of issues that developers refer to as User Experience.

EX and CX, on the other hand, are about how people experience your store. Do employees have the tools they need to complete their jobs? How much autonomy do they have over their schedules? Can customers find products easily? Do they feel welcome? What is it actually like for a customer to shop with your brand? These are the questions at the heart of EX and CX.

User Experience (UX)

You might be tempted to think of UX and EX/CX as disparate, but the opposite is actually true. The UX of your scheduling software, communication tools, POS system, internal intranets, and digital storefronts all contribute to what it’s like to work and shop at your store. In many ways, user experience of software drives both employee and customer experiences (though obviously not exclusively). Overly complicated POS systems or glitchy, unreliable online stores will frustrate employees and customers alike. Easy-to-use and easy-to-integrate software, on the other hand, reflects positively on your business.

Employee and Customer Experiences (EX/CX)

Employee and customer experiences, on the other hand, aren’t as cut and dry. Being able to accurately determine how much of a product you have on hand and what aisle it’s in is great but doesn’t mean much to a frustrated cashier working on their day off or customers getting inadequate service from employees on the verge of burnout.

Now, we all understand the damage a poor customer experience can cause, but many retailers are recognizing that poor customer service can often result from poor treatment of employees. Yes, some people are just lazy or have a bad attitude, but persistent complaints about employees’ service is the fault of poor management, not poor worker attitudes. 

Embracing Technology

Thankfully, all three experiences can be substantially enhanced by embracing new technology. Retail’s history is centuries long, but advanced technology is at best two decades old. Employees swapping shifts was difficult and frustrating when dealing with punch cards and fax machines. Nowadays, brands like Target recognize the technical limitations of yesterday shouldn’t dictate scheduling policies today and invested in an app that employees can use to swap shifts themselves. In fact, according to the Work Institute, a lack of scheduling autonomy is the second-most significant issues employees regularly point to for why they leave a job.

In fact, there are plenty of technologies that help improve employee and customer experiences alike. Guided-selling applications like Salesfloor let your associates interact directly with online customers, helping employees with immediately available product catalogs, an integrated engine to make recommendations easier for associates and customers alike, and even a shopping basket. Augmented and virtual reality stores are also becoming increasingly common. Not only do they give customers a new method of conveniently browsing but imagine millennial associates’ excitement at the idea of getting to go under a headset to help a customer out. Both the customer and the employee are happier, and you get a sale, and possible a recommendation sale out of it too. That’s a win/win/win.

In the end, good UX leads to better EX, which in turn means better CX, which ultimately translates into better revenue for you. Contrary to popular belief, investing in employee satisfaction is not a cost of doing business, it’s a real investment that can pay significant returns when handled properly. Few retail executives actively resist investing in employees out of sheer malice, but even the grinchiest of execs will relent if it ultimately means a better bottom line.

The Bottom Line

Salesfloor helps retailers fill the need to create tech-enhanced immersive retail experiences for their sales associates and customers alike. Learn more about how the Salesfloor app is enhancing the work experience for retail sales associates and helping other retailers retain top talent by getting in touch today.

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