Connect the Frontline to the Bottom Line: The Seven Habits of Empowered Frontline Teams.
If you’re doing a good job on habits one through five of the Seven Habits of Empowered Frontline Teams, you should be seeing a healthy improvement on your key business metrics. These might be things like daily sales volumes, repeat purchase rates, referrals or average order size. Your frontline staff deserve to feel pretty chuffed about these results.
So, don’t you think you should show them the impact they're making?
It’s a critical step that many businesses forget to take. Yet, when you connect the frontline to the bottom line, you create an empowered team that has a clear line of sight between their role and the overall success of the business.
If you’ve been hanging out with us for a while now, you’ll know that the frontline, unquestionably fuels the bottom line. You’ll know that awesome employee experiences lead to awesome customer experiences, which increases repeat business, referrals and ultimately revenue. So if the frontline and bottom line are inherently linked, it makes sense for the frontline to feel like that’s the case.
Firstly, when you connect the frontline to the bottom line, it directly teaches the frontline what’s working and what’s not. Meet Samantha. Sam is a frontline worker at a busy juice bar in Portland. For the month of September, she decides she’ll ask every customer if they’d like to size up their drink for $2 (the regular price increase of a larger juice). At the end of the month, Sam sees that the monthly revenue of the store has gone up by 5%, so she encourages her team members to try the same for the month of October. Again, they see an increase in revenue. Sam and the frontline team are taught that customers are generally open to upsizing their drinks when they’re offered. Without the connection to the bottom line, Sam and her team would never know if what they were offering was making an impact, which disincentives the team to try new ways of improving the customer experience.
In another world, Sam could have found that since asking customers if they’d like to upsize, there had been fewer customers through the door, perhaps suggesting that customers didn’t want to be upsold.
The point is, without the connection to the bottom line, the frontline are unable to identify patterns and understand how their behavior impacts the experience the customers have.
Connecting the frontline to the bottom line also means managers can learn from those out there on the field. To increase customer loyalty, companies often turn to market research firms and expensive analytics to determine what their customers like and dislike. They forget that the most rich nuggets of customer information can come directly from the frontline. When you allow the frontline to gain a sense of accountability and independence through connecting them to the bottom line, you simultaneously unlock highly valuable customer insights that will help improve the success of your business. It’s truly a win / win.
Thirdly, it’s motivating! Imagine playing a game of football, but you can’t see the scores. It wouldn’t take long before you hang up your boots. When the frontline can see the impact they’re making, it reinforces behaviors and motivates them to keep achieving. It demonstrates the value of their work, and empowers them to show up as the best versions of themselves. That’s exactly why Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, shares the daily sales revenue with every frontline worker in the store that day. It gives them a direct line of sight between their role delivering customer experience (one cup at a time) and the ultimate business outcome it contributes to.
Your frontline and bottom line are deeply connected, therefore, they shouldn’t be acting in isolation. There should be strong lines of communication, insights and feedback between the two. For a practical guide to implementing this habit, as well as the do’s and don’ts of the other six habits, check out our free AskNicely Frontline Coaching Playbook here.