Why is Internal Communication Vital in Retail?
Have you ever tried to come to an agreement with someone without first having a conversation to hash out your differences? It sounds impossible, right? That’s because it is. In any relationship, communication is the absolute foundation. It’s essential for relationships, and this same principle extends to the bond you share with your employees and customers. In a fast-paced retail environment, this may be even more vital. If you don’t have a tool in place to manage your communication, you’re doomed to persistent issues that will cut into your bottom line.
But it doesn’t need to be that way. With a walkie talkie app like Voxer in your corner, you can restore the effective communication in your workplace, preventing disaster from striking your team and your customers. Retail sales employees have enough of their plates tending to customers and maintaining the store. Investing in a reliable communication tool is one expense that should you feel confident in, as it creates a trickle-down effect that elevates your entire operation.
For instance, here is a series of five unfortunate events that could have easily been avoided with a communication tool on your side:
How Much is This?
Let’s say that you work in a retail store, and one of your guests asks about why a particular product is a different price in the store than in the ad. After a little digging, you realize that the price in the store was actually never changed to reflect the advertised sale price. You apologize to the customer and reach out to a team member to go and make the change.
However, no one is available to respond, and the situation snowballs out of control. You soon find yourself with a parade of customers with similar complaints, all because you couldn’t get ahold of someone to go and tend to that price change in a timely manner.
This might sound like a relatively small problem, but your customers expect a certain level of dedication and service. If your team can’t even keep up with its own price changes, it reflects poorly on your ability to meet customer needs in general. You can’t afford to give off the impression that your staff is careless and negligent.
The Waiting Game
Anyone who’s worked in a retail environment knows how busy things can get. Still, there’s a difference between tending to long lines of customers and calling in all your available team members to facilitate and blatantly disregarding waiting customers. In the latter case, you risk alienating customers and sabotaging what might otherwise foster into a long-term relationship with your company. If you continually have a long line of waiting customers standing near your checkout counter, for instance, then you essentially risk the future of your business.
Instead, you need a communication tool that makes it easy to request help and demonstrate to those waiting customers how much you value their time and their business. The alternative is to watch them grow more and more impatient, as you seemingly either fail to meet their needs in a timely manner or, even worse, have no clue how to manage your own retail space. Don’t let either come to pass, not when this is so easily rectifiable.
Without products in stock, your retail store would obviously have nothing to sell. So we don’t have to stress to you the importance of inventory management. When you have inventory scheduled for delivery, you need to ensure that everything goes smoothly. But if you are unable to effectively communicate with your team, you’re far less likely to be available to accept and process inventory deliveries at the same pace you normally would.
If, for instance, a last-minute inventory shipment is set to arrive or is rescheduled at the last minute, you need to know that you can turn to your communication tool to inform your staff and verify that someone will be on hand to manage it. In the best-case scenario, you would have inventory management designated to a particular team member, but you need to be prepared to shift gears on short notice. Inventory management is not something you can take lightly. Without communication, you may be leaving it open for a devastating inventory-related mishap.
You’ve spent years honing your management style, and by now, you have your retail store operating like a well-oiled machine. But no matter how well you plan for things, you can never take for granted the possibility that something somewhere will go terribly awry.
Perhaps a last-minute inventory change as we’ve discussed above or some other quick action needs to be taken in your store. You need to be ready to act and know that you can effectively communicate to your team, despite everything else they may be wrapped up in that day.
What would you do if one of your customers passed out, experienced a heart attack or had some other health emergency? Would you be able to coordinate among your team to ensure that this individual is helped as soon as possible, or would you wind up at the mercy of outdated technology like a traditional walkie talkie? The choice is yours, of course. But it’s time to enter the modern age, and that requires a modern communication solution.
One of the biggest reasons that communication is key in personal relationships is that it facilitates conflict resolution, but this is just as critical for professional relationships as well. In the workplace, tensions can run high. This is understandable, given the fast pace and many stressors that exist in a retail environment. Still, you need a communication tool that allows for the flexibility to send voice, text, or even photos and videos. These capabilities can prevent miscommunication and keep your team working together as one.
Furthermore, you need to ensure that you can act accordingly if you need to settle a dispute either between two members of your team or even between a team member and a customer. Irate customers — such as the ones we’ve mentioned above — tend to want to speak to the manager on duty to escalate their complaints. Imagine how much worse this situation would get if said manager is not available or doesn’t ever receive the message, due to a faulty communication tool.
If the above scenarios have made you a bit concerned about your own communication system, there’s no reason to panic. Now that we’ve demonstrated why communication is so important in the workplace, we suspect you’re already reassessing your own tools. In the current age of technology, there’s no excuse for relying on outdated tech to get the job done. Effective workplace communication means the difference between a company that operates like a well-oiled machine and one that barely scrapes by without a catastrophic incident.
Your retail sales employees will thank you for investing in their livelihood. So how do you improve communication in the workplace? By making it a priority. Saying you put customers first and actually doing it are two vastly different things. When you protect your team’s ability to stay in touch, you’re most certainly committed to the latter.