Reaching and inspiring the frontline to revitalise the customer experience
The recent case of the Walmart employee whose video went viral after she filmed herself quitting her job over the store’s PA system provides a snapshot of how disengaged and disconnected many frontline employees are feeling today.
According to research, only 13% of frontline staff feel engaged at work, which helps explain the high level of annual staff turnover in many industry sectors; notably grocery (40 to 50%), retail (81%) and fast food (100 to 150%).
Meanwhile, the 90% annual turnover of truck drivers at large haulage firms has had a major impact on the UK’s supply chain this year, impacting everything from supermarket shelves and building products to the recent fuel shortage.
An unhappy frontline is a big problem. After all, they make up 80% of the global workforce and, even with the rise of digitalisation, have the single biggest influence on the customer experience.
According to Forbes magazine, customer expectations have soared during the pandemic along with a need for companies to make experiences more human and relatable.
These interactions are delivered by frontline staff who are often seen by customers as the face and voice of the brand. The way those interactions are handled by frontline employees; whether in-store, on the phone, via social media or when delivering a service, has a major bearing on the brand’s reputation, so there’s a lot resting on their shoulders.
As a better employee experience drives a better customer experience, supporting, reaching and engaging frontline staff should be a priority.
Of course, frontline engagement can only be achieved if the ‘basics’ are already firmly in place; like fair wages, manageable working hours and a responsible approach to worker safety and wellbeing. With these essential foundations solid, the focus can move to helping frontline employees better understand and believe in the part they play in helping the company succeed.
There are two purpose-related elements that guide our thinking and planning when working on frontline engagement programmes: communicating with purpose; and creating content that’s fit for purpose.
Only 13% of frontline staff feel engaged at work
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