5 Ways to Improve Communication in Your Retail Store
Good communication is an important part of any successful retail business, big or small. Clear and timely communication can help you save a lot of time, provide better customer service, boost employee productivity and increase revenue.
Whether it’s communication between employees in a department, employees between different departments or between employees and upper management, successful retail businesses understand the value of establishing great communication policies.
Look at any successful retail business, and you’ll discover that they invest heavily in improving internal store communication between all parties involved. Without good communication, you will have a difficult time executing store tasks, which leads to losses down the line.
And in this article, we go over five simple ways you can improve communication in your retail store. Without further ado, let’s start.
Hold Personalized Pre-Meetings
Fostering great communication in your retail store needn’t be challenging. It is as simple as holding a 3-minute chat with your employees before their shifts start. You can use pre-work meetings to assign tasks, update staff on changes, and remind everybody about your mission and vision.
A personalized one-on-one with an employee can prepare them for a fruitful day by orienting them and clearing up confusion that may get in the way of your goals. We recommend holding one-on-one pre-meetings, or including no more than five employees at a time.
Pre-meetings are a great avenue for managers and employees to have a real conversation where staff can clarify concerns, bring up any issues and ask the right questions. When done effectively, regular pre-meetings offer a strong foundation to improve communication and build camaraderie, both of which translates to better results at the end of the day.
Consistency is Key
Do you want to improve communication in your retail store? If that’s a resounding yes, you must remain consistent. According to an article on Forbes, “It is essential in any business process, not just communication methods, to have a predictable workflow that is consistent throughout your business. This predictability is vital on an internal level with your employees, as well as how you present your business externally for your customers and clients.”
Communication consistency breeds clarity, which is a vital part of improving retail communication. This, however, doesn’t mean communication methods shouldn’t change. Instead, it means that you must establish a reliable communication system.
Communication consistency ensures that employees understand the process, and know what to expect every day. You can start by appointing one person to take care of all communication. As such, staff will receive all store information from one individual, which minimizes the risk of distributing contradicting information.
Quick question: How do you expect to improve communication in your retail store if you’re always unavailable? If you’re unavailable, employees can’t communicate with you as a leader, and that in itself kills communication.
As a retail store owner, manager, HQ or district leader, you have to make an effort to be available. Why? If your employees have to go out of their way to deal with issues in your absence, you can expect communication to deteriorate.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that staff can communicate any concerns easily. This is especially important if you have offsite employees or workers who can’t leave their workstations. Fostering a great communication culture requires commitment, so ensure you’re easily available.
Retail store communication technology can help you lighten the load on your shoulders thanks to tools such as automation (e.g. Zapier) or collaboration and communication (e.g. Zipline) and centralization of information. In one case study, Gap Inc. achieved 90% store execution by leveraging the power of retail store technology. In another case study, TOMS cut down on time spent answering store questions by a whopping 60%.
The modern retail work environment has changed tremendously, what with employees working in shifts, and often times in multiple locations. This new environment has made disseminating information harder, more so when changes require private communication or happen between shifts.
It goes without saying that retail store communication technology has changed how vital information is distributed. With the right technology, you can ensure that your employees enjoy constant communication so that sharing information and working together becomes effortless.
Create Open Dialogue
If you shut down employees when they try to voice their concerns, you are only shooting yourself in the foot. According to Daniel Sztutwojner, the Chief Customer officer at Beekeeper AG, “During staff meetings, give your retail employees the time and encouragement to reveal any issues, new insights, or industry updates that would benefit both management and their coworkers.”
Don’t just bark down orders and rule with an iron fist; create a friendly atmosphere that encourages employees to share openly. You will learn a lot about things on the ground, and open an avenue to collect useful feedback.
In other words, don’t shut out your employees; make them feel they play an important part in the progress of your business. When they feel they are a part of your company (and they are), they are more likely to communicate well. Encourage all ideas and welcome comments and questions.
At the end of the day, improving communication in your retail store is all about fostering a conducive and friendly working environment. When you make every employee a valued member of the whole team, they are more likely to communicate openly without any inhibitions.
To improve communication and keep growing, create open dialogue, be available, leverage technology, hold personalized pre-meetings and be consistent. When all is said and done, value your employees, and they will make your customers really happy.