The problem with email….. I know very few retailers who have implemented email and genuinely believe it has increased the efficiency of their store teams, in fact, quite the opposite.
The use of email in the retail environment can be thought of as a potent modern tragedy of commons. The commons in question is the store teams time and focus. All too often store teams are tied up viewing and processing emails from the whole of the organisation, eroding time for core activities like serving customers, motivating their teams and driving sales.
Email seems to be the easy answer to move information around the business, but is it the right answer? The fundamental issue is that email does not wrap around the process, it is not easily controlled and ultimately leads to a ‘free for all’ with all parts of the business vying for the attention of the store teams.
By all means, use email BUT provide some measurement of volume and visibility of sources from where most of it originates. This way you can at least provide some controls around who, when and how much is being sent down.
In a world where employee engagement solutions are gaining more and more traction and ‘social’ applications are being introduced to the workplace, there is a danger that these corporate tools will only add to the distraction of the store teams.
The more we elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.J. B. Priestley
It’s all about keeping it simple and boiling communication down to the essentials to enable store staff to do their job – effect change instore, sell and deliver service. Any tool that is used, needs to provide the user with clarity in terms of what they have to do when they have to do it and clear guidance as to exactly how they need to do it.
These communications need to be presented in the context as to how you want the user to interact with them e.g. Read, Do, Feedback or Know. The communications need to be targeted and therefore relevant to the end-user in their role or type of outlet that they are working in.
At the top of the tree needs to be an operational gatekeeper that has the capability to:
- Have a clear vision as to the end objectives of each point of communication
- Has the authority to say no or defer communication to a later date
- Has a clear understanding of the operational pressures of store staff
- Understand which elements of audience each communication is relevant to
So, in summary, there are specialist collaborative tools that provide far better structured, process-driven and ultimately deliver more effective communications than just rolling out email. Email will continue to be the answer for retailers that don’t realise the importance of focus of store teams.
If you want the easy answer then roll out email. If you want the right answer then use specialist collaborative solutions such as Unified Comms from RMS.