Ensuring a Seamless Adoption of New Technology Among Frontline Employees

J. Barbor, Guest Writer

27 August 2019    |   

Technology as a business necessity In 2017, nearly half of all Australian innovation-active businesses spent on new equipment or technology, making tech the most common innovation expenditure — and rightly so. Technology has become a necessity for businesses everywhere, and the most competitive companies are always looking to upgrade theirs to improve productivity. However, it’s important to keep in mind that investing in innovative technology means more than just purchasing it. Often, the most crucial steps to maximise its benefits are what comes afterwards, when it is integrated into everyday business operations. Businesses must consider how new technologies will affect their employees, and although it might sound obvious, it’s a little more complicated than simply deploying them. Indeed, there are a lot of factors to think about, particularly with regard to how the technology will affect your frontline employees. They play a huge role in customer satisfaction, and the alienation or intimidation they may feel towards new tools will most likely affect their interactions with clients. Rosie Ramirez wrote that the smallest interactions with frontline employees can shape people’s opinions of your brand, meaning that even the small instances of bad customer service can make or break your company in the long run. That’s why getting frontline workers to engage with and accept new technology is essential in keeping them and your customers happy. That said, we’ve listed down some tips to make this adoption of new tech possible with your invaluable frontline workers. Choose user-friendly tech Frontline employees already face a lot of pressure at work — customer service workers know this more than most, and understand how stressful it can be to handle customers well. Adding new and complicated-looking technology can be frustrating (and terrifying) to those who already have a lot on their plate. Remember that there is a myriad of options for functional and user-friendly tech these days, so simply lining them up to compare your options will make a world of difference for your busy frontline workers. Think about day-to-day operations Considering how new technology will affect day-to-day operations is not a one-man job, and at this stage, it’s important to actually talk to your frontline employees who are likely affected by any changes made in the back office. For instance, if you change tracking systems for stock that will benefit your operations managers, how would this affect sales teams on the ground who rely on this information on a daily basis? Don’t assume that you know how everything works, and ask different departments how new tools might change operations from the ground up. That way, you and your workers know exactly what to expect and how to prepare for it. Be transparent about new tools Change can be intimidating, especially when employees don’t know exactly what is changing. It’s important to spell it out for frontline employees who are most likely going to be affected by the new tech. Verizon Connect’s guide on how to get employees to use new technology points out that it’s crucial to constantly repeat the benefits of new tools to employees until they’re integrated into the existing company culture. Resistance can be expected at first, but by being transparent about the new technology, you’re making frontline workers feel confident and included in the change. Guarantee effective training When you invest in new technology, it’s best to invest in effective trainers as well. This can make the adoption of new tools easier for both you and your workers. Staff won’t have to juggle trying to learn the new tech on their own while meeting with clients, since you will give them the one- or two-day training they need to understand it. Of course, follow-ups are key to knowing if additional training is necessary for certain employees, particularly the less tech-savvy ones. Data from the Australian Institute of Family Studies confirms that older generations are less likely to interact with new technology and often require extra training courses to improve basic skills for online activities. Listening to what individual workers need will help everyone gain the skills needed to operate new technology. It goes without saying that more changes should be expected in an increasingly digital world, and it’s critical to think about the individuals working on the frontlines when implementing these changes, given that they are the faces that drive brands forward. After all, what use is shiny new machinery to improve operations if your staff don’t know what to make of them? Ready to adopt a frontline-friendly technology platform? See how Tanda can make rostering and payroll more efficient when you start your free trial today.

Technology as a business necessity

In 2017, nearly half of all Australian innovation-active businesses spent on new equipment or technology, making tech the most common innovation expenditure — and rightly so. Technology has become a necessity for businesses everywhere, and the most competitive companies are always looking to upgrade theirs to improve productivity.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that investing in innovative technology means more than just purchasing it. Often, the most crucial steps to maximise its benefits are what comes afterwards, when it is integrated into everyday business operations. Businesses must consider how new technologies will affect their employees, and although it might sound obvious, it’s a little more complicated than simply deploying them.

Indeed, there are a lot of factors to think about, particularly with regard to how the technology will affect your frontline employees. They play a huge role in customer satisfaction, and the alienation or intimidation they may feel towards new tools will most likely affect their interactions with clients. Rosie Ramirez wrote that the smallest interactions with frontline employees can shape people’s opinions of your brand, meaning that even the small instances of bad customer service can make or break your company in the long run. That’s why getting frontline workers to engage with and accept new technology is essential in keeping them and your customers happy. That said, we’ve listed down some tips to make this adoption of new tech possible with your invaluable frontline workers.

Choose user-friendly tech

Frontline employees already face a lot of pressure at work — customer service workers know this more than most, and understand how stressful it can be to handle customers well. Adding new and complicated-looking technology can be frustrating (and terrifying) to those who already have a lot on their plate. Remember that there is a myriad of options for functional and user-friendly tech these days, so simply lining them up to compare your options will make a world of difference for your busy frontline workers.

Think about day-to-day operations

Considering how new technology will affect day-to-day operations is not a one-man job, and at this stage, it’s important to actually talk to your frontline employees who are likely affected by any changes made in the back office. For instance, if you change tracking systems for stock that will benefit your operations managers, how would this affect sales teams on the ground who rely on this information on a daily basis? Don’t assume that you know how everything works, and ask different departments how new tools might change operations from the ground up. That way, you and your workers know exactly what to expect and how to prepare for it.

Be transparent about new tools

Change can be intimidating, especially when employees don’t know exactly what is changing. It’s important to spell it out for frontline employees who are most likely going to be affected by the new tech. Verizon Connect’s guide on how to get employees to use new technology points out that it’s crucial to constantly repeat the benefits of new tools to employees until they’re integrated into the existing company culture. Resistance can be expected at first, but by being transparent about the new technology, you’re making frontline workers feel confident and included in the change.

Guarantee effective training

When you invest in new technology, it’s best to invest in effective trainers as well. This can make the adoption of new tools easier for both you and your workers. Staff won’t have to juggle trying to learn the new tech on their own while meeting with clients, since you will give them the one- or two-day training they need to understand it. Of course, follow-ups are key to knowing if additional training is necessary for certain employees, particularly the less tech-savvy ones. Data from the Australian Institute of Family Studies confirms that older generations are less likely to interact with new technology and often require extra training courses to improve basic skills for online activities. Listening to what individual workers need will help everyone gain the skills needed to operate new technology.

It goes without saying that more changes should be expected in an increasingly digital world, and it’s critical to think about the individuals working on the frontlines when implementing these changes, given that they are the faces that drive brands forward. After all, what use is shiny new machinery to improve operations if your staff don’t know what to make of them?


Ready to adopt a frontline-friendly technology platform? See how Tanda can make rostering and payroll more efficient when you start your free trial today.

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Actionable feedback from the front line

Do you ever hear about issues long after the fact? Are your employees wary of providing honest feedback to management? Does morale seem down at times, but you don’t know why? Shift Feedback is your answer. Timely, actionable insights You can now collect feedback from your front line staff to resolve issues as they occur and gain valuable insights.  Are staffing levels too low? How well are your teams communicating? What about team morale? Your front line staff are the best people to ask. A tool for Employee Engagement Actively seeking ways to improve your company culture and employee engagement before problems develop is one characteristic that differentiates a good culture from a great culture – W, Craige Through continuous feedback, Managers can identify potential engagement issues before they escalate, and always be on the lookout for ways to improve company culture for a happier, more productive workforce. How Shift Feedback works Once a week after a shift, employees will be prompted to provide feedback on that shift. They will select from a predefined list of topics to express what went well, and what didn’t go well.  Managers and Admins receive a summary email with feedback from teams they manage. Feedback from employees will be anonymous. The anonymity is important in making employees feel safe and comfortable providing honest feedback – employees will more likely to provide constructive criticism on business operations and say what they’re truly feel. How to get Shift Feedback Shift Feedback is a powerup that Admins can turn on at any time. Turn on the Shift Feedback powerup in your Tanda account or learn more about the feature on our help guide.  

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Forging the Workforce of the Future: Why frontline employees matter

Think back to the last in-store purchase you made. Were you promptly welcomed or was the store too busy for you to get their attention? Did staff assist you while you were looking for items, and given advice on deals or discounts? Was the cashier polite or uncommunicative? These small interactions with frontline employees often shape their opinion of a brand, regardless of how good the product is. They perform all kinds of customer service roles. This includes answering phone inquiries, assisting clients who visit a store, performing consultancy work, and fulfilling installation or maintenance jobs. At the end of the day, clients remember the experience that staff create. Frontline workers are vital to any business. But as the face of your organisation, they face high levels of pressure and stress. They juggle time pressure and quality of work to deliver the customer promise. If frontline employees are highly motivated, they are able to provide great customer experience, increase customer retention, elevate the brand, and grow the business. That’s why at this year’s Workforce Success Conference, we are inviting students to propose ways to motivate frontline employees. Read on to know more about why frontline employees matter and sign up for the student cup today! Providing Great Customer Experience Making sure the customer experience is stellar should guide all business decisions and methods regardless of industry or size. When businesses, especially large ones, go out of their way for customers, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Businesses need to leverage their ability to deliver the customer promise and surprise the customer with extra care and support. In fact, consumers are willing to pay up to 16% more for better customer experience. This underscores the fact that customer experience isn’t just a small part of the sales process, it’s a genuine gamechanger. Conversely, PwC suggests that globally, 60% of consumers would stop doing business with a company due to unfriendly service. Many consumers (46%) also would not patronise a company with poorly trained employees. Due to this, companies are increasingly relying on chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) to answer customer concerns. But the same survey suggests that a balance between human interaction and automation is what customers actually desire. It seems the verdict is in: consumers still value the human element, perhaps because great customer care is hinged on empathy — something AI cannot emulate. Read more: Keeping up with the Customers: Why feedback matters for every business Elevating the Brand According to a survey by PwC, 65% of respondents find great customer service more influential than great advertising. Getting customer service right is actually a better investment than spending millions on ads, because it becomes an advertisement in itself. In the age of social media, interactions with sales staff, cashiers, customer support, and other frontline staff make their way onto posts, stories, and tweets. This becomes even clearer when we consider that 84% of millennial consumers do not trust advertisements anymore, especially when making an online purchase. Instead, they seek third-party validation, whether through reviews left in the comments or through mentions on social media. Unsurprisingly, many comments left on websites are not about the product, but about the company’s customer service. When reviews about customer service are positive, they can create advocates out of customers. At this stage of the customer journey, they are already a valuable ally in maintaining the popularity of the brand. When negative, however, it can result in boycotts and massive losses in profits. Consider the United Airlines incident, where musician Dave Carroll saw baggage handlers damage his custom-made guitar from his airplane window. His band made a song about it which went viral, and reportedly cost the airline $180 million (10% of share value) in 2009. Social media has given consumers the power to be heard instantly around the globe. Harnessing it makes a successful modern business; failure to do so means losing out to more tech-savvy companies. Free download: Empowering Frontline Staff with Modern Technology Increasing Customer Retention “The most important customers are those that come back consistently and invite their friends,” says Michael Barnard, Workforce Success Champion and General Manager of consultancy firm Customology. Customer retention, or the ability of a company to retain its customers over a period of time, is impacted by how many new customers are acquired, and how many existing customers churn. It is important because it costs 10 times as much to obtain a new customer as it does to retain an existing customer. According to a survey by PwC, 73% of global respondents say that a positive experience is among the key drivers that influence their brand loyalties. The phenomenon is intuitive — why would you go back to a company that didn’t treat you with urgency, empathy, and importance? That’s why businesses need to invest just as many resources in retaining existing customers as in selling to new customers. A big part of this is making sure that frontline staff is empowered to deliver the best services so that customers feel they are a priority. Putting customers first through excellent customer service allows brands to make a lasting connection with them. Read more: Michael Barnard’s Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Customers for Life Expanding the Business Frontline staff have access to a wealth of information when it comes to understanding your customers and how the business is really doing. Owners and managers don’t always make time to converse with frontline workers, but they should. Being the first point of contact, they have unique insights that can improve how business is done, whether it’s about the product or the way stores are constructed. Keeping the lines of information open is not something all businesses currently do. According to a Gallup study, only 17% of workers strongly agree that they are able to freely voice their concerns and suggestions. Leveraging the knowledge, experience, and skills of frontline staff are key to expanding businesses. Without them, managers will not have a real pulse on the clients and what they want. The impact frontline workers have on customer experience, business branding, and customer retention cannot be understated. They can make or break your reputation. Managers on the frontline are also allies in growing the business and training new staff members in the company’s values and goals. When frontline workers cater to customers’ interests, they are contributing to the success of the overall business for years to come. Ready to forge the workforce of the future by motivating frontline employees? Form a team of 3-5 students and sign up today. A cash prize and internship awaits!

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About the author

J. Barbor, Guest Writer

JBarbor is a digital nomad and freelance writer currently stationed in New York. She is passionate about technology and enjoys writing about how to bring the latest tech closer to the people. When she's not working on a new piece, you'll find her jogging at the local park or borrowing a book from the library.

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Think back to the last in-store purchase you made. Were you promptly welcomed or was the store too busy for you to get their attention? Did staff assist you while you were looking for items, and given advice on deals or discounts? Was the cashier polite or uncommunicative? These small interactions with frontline employees often […]

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