How to Align Service Cultures Using Technology with David Benoit
David Benoit has owned and operated a service company for over 22 years. As he looks back and reflects on his business journey, one regret comes to mind…
He wishes he had invested more time, energy and money into his frontline team earlier.
As many founders are at the conception of their business, David was buried under a never ending to-do-list. He was focused on revenue. His frontline team and their needs was on his periphery, but never quite came into focus until he realised just how important aligning the frontline to the backend culture was, and just how simple it could be with technology.
“I can only imagine how much stronger a company we would have been if we'd focused on our frontline team’s success earlier.”
In David’s presentation at the Global Frontline Experience summit in 2020, he sets out to talk about how we can align frontline and backend service cultures using technology. He starts by pointing out that aligning cultures doesn’t mean making the cultures the same. It’s inevitable that the frontline culture will be different to the office culture - they’re paid differently, they wear different uniforms, they have different jobs. The important part is listening to frontline employees, understanding what it is they need to succeed, and aligning their culture to the wider company values and mission.
Before we dive into technology chat, let’s first establish why frontline employees are so important, and why investing in them should be higher up on your to-do-list. In service based businesses, you compete on customer experience, and as fellow Frontline summit guest Rory Sutherland said “that experience is fundamentally mediated by the person who delivers it”. David reiterates Rory’s point, saying “In a service company, if your frontline has success, your customers have success, and if your customers have success your company will grow.” It really is that simple. Yet we tend to overlook the importance of frontline work because we don’t directly correlate it with revenue, as we do with sales, and customers - but in fact, strong employee experience has proven to generate more revenue for businesses. To break it down further in the words of marketer Mathew Sweezey, EX = CX = Growth.
It’s clear how important frontline workers are, so now let’s look at what they need and what they want in order to be successful in their roles. A big part of understanding this requires listening. Listening to your frontline employees, hearing about their experiences and understanding from a human level what they need to be more successful in their work.
As with your marketing department, your HR team, and your sales staff, your frontline workers want their own space, they want to have control, and they want to have visibility. They want to be connected and they want transparency. The challenge that is unique to your frontline team is that they are working remotely, which is why technology can be such a useful tool for aligning your team to the wider company culture.
How do we give frontline employees what they need to be successful? Great uniforms, career pathways, shiny vans and incredible leaders is a good starting point, but if you truly want to serve your frontline team, investing in technology is absolutely critical.
“We have found that the biggest impact with our frontline workers is to make sure that we keep investing in our technology and designing it around them as well.”
But what technology? David has a winning checklist…
The technology needs to:
- Be built FOR the frontline
- Make their job easier
- Be easy to use
- Help them to deliver exceptional customer experience
- Give them visibility
- Show them where they’ve been and where they’re going
- Enable smoother decision making
- Be visually appealing
- Connect them to their wider company culture
- Provide real-time feedback and communication
Looking for a technology that ticks all the boxes? The AskNicely Frontline product is the ultimate technology platform for mobile workers. Learn more here.
David concludes his presentation with an interesting thought: “Companies spend millions of dollars on customer touch points. So here’s a question. Shouldn’t we be spending millions of dollars on employee touch points?” Of course millions of dollars aren't accessible to all small businesses, but his point still stands - if we know EX = CX = Growth, we must put more time, money and resources into the first part of the equation.
Want to keep learning from experts? Discover the 7 habits of world-class brands that rely on frontline workers to deliver optimal customer experience.