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For retailers, there is an endless list of tasks and things that need to get done on a daily basis. Some things happen every day, and some happen on an as-needed basis. While managers like to know that everything is getting done, this is just not possible. However, there are some cases where you NEED to know. These are the times when a tool that provides store staff with the ability to confirm they completed a task is necessary to avoid a lack of communication. Communication needs to travel both up and down the ladder in order to be truly effective.
Right now the reality for many companies is that you send out a mass e-mail or text message to everyone in your company that needs to be aware of certain tasks that have a more immediate need. It is easy to add multiple people to an e-mail or have that saved list that you can bring up with just a few clicks. Sending the information down to stores is the easy part. From there, however, the challenge is sorting through the responses and saving that information to make sure that everyone has taken care of the task. That can mean spending your day sorting through e-mails and trying to figure out which two or three stores are the ones that have not responded yet to let you know the situation is taken care of.
Example One – Food Recalls
A perfect example of this is food recalls. When you get a food recall, this becomes a top priority for stores that potentially have the product on their shelves. A closed loop communication tool can help store staff respond that they have pulled the product in question from the shelf while compiling the results, allowing corporate staff to quickly identify stores that still need to complete the task. The ability for the stores to respond with images that show the item in the back room, giving that additional peace of mind that they did not simply mark the task as done while not actually doing it, would be a plus too.
Example Two – New Merchandising Displays
While not as pressing as a food recall, when there are problems with a merchandising display, the current one directional structure of communication can leave the corporate office in the dark as to why actual sales fell short of expected sales. Do stores get it wrong sometimes? Absolutely. However, when stores perform as expected, yet a merchandising display’s sales still falter, it is important to have the ability to identify the real root of the problem. Maybe there was a problem with the directions, or the store did not have enough space for the designated design. Your stores feedback will help identify what went wrong.
Use What Your Employees Know
As managers, it can be easy to get caught up trying to solve every problem in our stores that we hear about. Everyone wants the business to run efficiently and to make customers happy. In many cases, however, the best answer can lie with the employees actually experiencing the problem. By using a tool that gives you the closed loop communication, you can get that feedback from employees. Of course this will not work 100% of the time, but if you can eliminate even a fraction of problems that you deal with on a regular basis, a closed loop communication system can be a big win for you and your team.