By Guy R. Van Buskirk, Co-Founder, Theatro – January 17, 2020
Have you ever had a written message misinterpreted? Sent a text your spouse took one way when it was meant in completely another? Had an employee misunderstand a task and spend a week barking up the wrong tree? Or maybe a friend never saw your e-mail and you had to fly solo to the concert you just won tickets to?
The convenience of e-mail, text messaging, G-chat, WhatsApp and every other communication app is undoubtedly a miracle of modern technology. We can connect with anyone, anywhere, any time. But too often, it means important messages are misconstrued, underappreciated or even completely ignored. What’s more, these tools are not really that fast or efficient for asking and answering questions or getting help in real-time.
You wouldn’t e-mail 9-1-1 and wait for them to respond asking for details and a location. So, why have we let that become the default in business?
Forget pure white-collar office to office communication for a minute. Let’s focus on one of the largest workforces in the US today – mobile, frontline associates in industries such as retail and hospitality. From the sales floor to the hotel lobby and the casino floor, we’re seeing efficiency- and service-oriented organizations ditch phones and tablets that help employees access information but ultimately add a ton of friction to their interactions. They’re not replacing them with Nextels from 1999, or walkie-talkies from the 1930s, either.
They’ve figured out that connecting associates to each other, to management and to core business systems through the power of Voice makes a huge difference to customer service, productivity, new hire training and employee satisfaction. Let’s explore a little further.
Good customer service isn’t the only thing that earns customer loyalty, but bad customer service is a pretty surefire way to lose it. Service-oriented businesses need employees to be informed, communicative, helpful and engaged. Giving them access to each other and to key business information on the go is critical, but making them look at phone screens or walk to a kiosk won’t cut it. It disconnects the employee from the customer and bogs the process down.s
Instead, with wearable communication devices, powered by AI and connected to the whole enterprise ecosystem, employees can relay accurate information in real-time, provide backup when needed and ensure they never have to take their eyes off the customer in need.
Ditching the screen for Voice communications also improves the speed of the entire operation. No more fumbling around in pockets or typing in search queries. Just start talking, and someone else will be there to help. With Natural Language Processing, these systems can identify the person or group an employee is trying to reach and ensure they get what they need quickly.
This doesn’t only enable employees to provide faster service, but ensures that managers can connect with floor staff at any time with new tasks, check on the status of those tasks and keep a far closer eye on their location than ever before. They can finally get out from behind their central command station in the back office to walk the floor and create plans on the go that improve the entire operation of the business.
It might sound hard to believe, but employees who feel connected, engaged and supported at all times actually like their jobs more. This can have a massive effect on maintaining profitable operations in high-turnover industries like retail and hospitality. Even better, it’s not just that employees tend to report more satisfaction, they actually learn a lot faster because they can ask any question at any time.
The combination of onboarding employees faster and keeping them around longer is one that pays off massively over time.
The Future of Mobile Business is Voice-Enabled
Consumer lifestyles are quickly becoming Voice-enabled. I can order a new TV through my smart speaker at home, check delivery status just by speaking up and then flip on the game without ever touching a button.
That level of convenience is coming to the business world. If that sounds like an exciting possibility, speak up. Or else you could just open your e-mail app, write an e-mail and wait for a reply. The choice is yours.