Engaging your employees is the first step in creating a brand and customer experience that your shoppers will remember. “Costco famously has always paid well, and the commitment of their employees shines through in store. Amazon has built an enviable reputation for customer service, while Trader Joe’s employees are walking manifestations of the brand”, explains a recent article in Supermarket News.
When we work with our retail partners to launch a completely new eCommerce experience, one of the most important steps they need to take to ensure the success of their launch is getting their employees fully on board with the change.
During our 2015 retail partner summit, we had a share group dedicated to this exact topic. Two of our partners who were in the process of launching a new eCommerce experience with Unata — Lowes Foods and Lunds & Byerlys — shared best practices on how to turn employees into evangelists to ensure a successful eCom launch. We’ve summarized these into 3 key learnings:
1. Get your employees using the platform
Your employees need exposure to the platform if you want them to get on board. Give each of them credit / vouchers to get them using it during your soft launch. Once they do, they will see first hand how easy and intuitive it is, and will enthusiastically tell all of their friends and family to use it as well.
Ensure all store managers, department managers, divisional directors and store pickers have shopped multiple times using your platform, so that they know the experience inside and out.
You’ve got a great product, make sure the people who work for you know that and start talking about it.
2. Provide proper training on the platform
This might seem obvious, but official training should be provided on both the customer-facing platform and back-end retailer dashboard in order to get your employees feeling confident about the upcoming change. Training should be thorough and should happen well in advance.
By nature, people aren’t the biggest fans of change, so it’s important to start getting them prepared for it nice and early. There is nothing worse than employees frustrated by new technology systems, except for employees frustrated by new technology systems complaining to your customers about it. Instead, if they feel confident about using the new technology, they’ll start to feel excited about the change and start spreading the good word to their networks.
3. Provide in-field training for pickers / personal shoppers
Those who are on the front lines of the new technology, picking produce and packing orders, have the potential to be your biggest advocates since they are out there talking to your customers every day. Give them extra training to ensure they feel especially confident. That can include hands on training with plastic produce, or role playing on how to deal with a customer. The focus should be on how to deal with a guest at the store level, ensuring they feel prepared to answer all types of questions, including how to use the technology from the customer’s point of view.
Creating employee evangelists is key to the success of launching a new customer experience. Make sure you plan ahead and get your most important people — those who live and breathe your brand and are on the front lines — feeling confident and excited about the change, so much so that they become your new eCommerce experience’s biggest fans.