8 Strategies to Solve Communication Problems in Retail
Sharing timely updates from corporate headquarters with retail store workers has always been challenging with front-of-house staff constantly on the move, back-of-house personnel sitting at desks. It’s even tougher today with the various types of devices being used to access communication tools like email, text messages, and the Internet. Choosing a method to reach everyone with important news isn’t easy, and making the wrong decision can result in a various types of breakdowns in messaging in any retail communications.
What are communication problems in retail?
Communication problems for retail teams can range from missed messages to high turnover to lack of training. Poor inter-management communication can lead to miscommunication between corporate and individual stores. A lack of communication between front-of-house and back-of-house employees can make distributing a consistent message difficult since these employees rarely work at the same time in the same place.
These problems and more can cause issues for corporate teams trying to create a consistent line of communication for retail teams.
What are communication problems in retail?
One of the easiest ways to solve communication problems in the retail industry is to ensure that everyone within your organization is using the same platform for all messages, whether they’re at the corporate or store level. By having one centralized method of communicating, your messages will go to the right people.
Here are effective communication strategies to solve eight types of breaks in your retail communication strategy, from centralizing your messaging to segmenting your audience to creating a singular HR access point.
1. Avoid message disbursement
People prefer to be contacted in a variety of ways, including texting, chatbots, emails, and instant messages. Attempting to meet all of those needs can lead to many different channels sending out too many messages.
By centralizing messages from your employees, you create a system that can improve in-store communication and keep employees from every tier on the same page. A centralized location for store communications also creates a collaborative solution that encourages team members to work together, helping your business to send one cohesive message.
2. Segment your messages by audience
Store managers and employees can become overwhelmed with the number of messages to attend to – 64% of respondents say dealing with the sheer amount of messages from headquarters to stores is their biggest challenge.
You can cut through the clutter by sending messages to only the segment of your audience that needs to see them, simplifying the disbursement, and enhancing productivity.
By segmenting your audience, you remove unnecessary messages from the inboxes of employees who don’t need that information or other details that don’t apply to them. This process is similar to how your corporate marketing efforts segment your audience, focusing only on those for whom the message is relevant.
3. Find your message’s focus
While in some instances your message requires significant detail – such as changes to a health plan or 401(k) – many task-oriented messages could use a more precise focus on delivery.
Each message could get to the point faster by briefly explaining what your organization is trying to accomplish by the change, detailing why it’s important in concise points and then telling your employees what you need them to do and what type of timeline they need to do it in.
Then, using your retail corporate intranet, you can provide a link to more in-depth and detailed information concerning the message. Finding a focus doesn’t have to be boring. Providing infographics and videos can be a great way to succinctly get your news across without losing your employees’ interest.
4. Don’t forget to follow up
Of the many emails in your inbox right now, how many will you take the time to read thoroughly? Just the ones that you deem the most relevant and time-sensitive, right? Your store employees are the same.
If a corporate message goes unread, it can lead to tasks and changes that are never acknowledged and completed. Your leadership team can’t just “send and forget” your emails once they’ve been sent.
To ensure that your messages are maximizing their value, use an email tracking tool (anonymously) that allows you to see which types of messages are opened, which are ignored and which get tasks completed. This way, you’ll be able to know when to nudge something gently, or whether a type of email isn’t effectively conveying your message.
5. Connect your employees… everywhere
A collaborative and cloud intranet solution helps your employees connect no matter where their retail location is situated across the world.
Geographically dispersed teams can face communication problems in retail when employees work in locations that are drastically different from that of corporate headquarters. They rely on staff meetings to convey crucial corporate information, but employees are rarely all in the store at the same time. Is there a way for your employees to connect with each other, no matter their current location?
A corporate intranet solution connects all of your employees wherever they are, creating more energetic lines of communication.
6. Connect stores to headquarters
If store employees have questions about how to complete a task, is there a line of communication for them to contact the sender of your message for clarification?
Sometimes stores with unique footprints or situations discover a mistake that the corporation missed and need to give feedback. A store may also need to alert that the task will take more time than anticipated and ask for approval to increase staff.
No matter the reason, communication problems in retail should be addressed on both sides of the equation, and store-level employees need a way to send messages up the chain of command quickly.
7. Fix hypermobile retail employee communication breakdowns
Mobile solutions are necessary when your workforce is hypermobile, constantly on the go, and rarely at a stationary desktop computer. Whether they’re attending to in-store needs or other customer service issues, your retail employees are seldom in front of a computer to access their email and find the answers.
Retail communications can be fixed with a corporate communication platform that combines the ease of a social network with the importance of a corporate portal.
8. Reduce HR problems with centralization
Simplifying employee onboarding and daily work with a singular point of access can reduce stresses related to training, career development and the high costs of turnover.
Encourage knowledge-sharing with business apps tailored to your HR communication and productivity needs.
March 24, 2020
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Guide: How to Create Effective Internal Communications for Retail