The Cost of Not Upgrading the Frontline Experience

AskNicely Team

What happens if you don’t give the frontline the tools and technology they need to succeed in their work? 

Don’t be the typewriter of your field, be the next supercomputer. From Microsoft to the Harvard Business Review and the team here at AskNicely, all the experts agree that the frontline is the next area of innovation. Better workflows, access to software and real-time employee feedback means better retention for both employees and customers, not to mention improved efficiency. But when it comes to investing in the frontline, it’s easy to say, “that’s tomorrow's problem”, “next quarter’s problem”, ``we'll work on that once we have the time, or the money”, but in reality, the cost of doing nothing is far higher than the cost of acting now.

Left Out of Tech?

Technology has been heralded as a new way of keeping people more connected and in-the-know. But some people have been left out of the loop, such as frontline workers. This is said best by AskNicely's CEO, Aaron Ward. 

The software industry has done a pretty good job building software for salespeople, marketers, developers, accountants but have all but ignored the service person on the frontline who deals with the actual customer. – AskNicely CEO Aaron Ward. 

We’ve all heard the doomsday stories about AI taking over the world and our livelihoods. But AI can be used to make our lives more efficient and cut out the fat so to speak when it comes to repetitive and transactional work. Then frontline workers can spend more time on higher-level activities that matter the most when it comes to business growth, like building customer relationships. The need for technology to support the frontline has been felt even more acutely in the past two years, as we’ve come to realize the breadth of the work involved in their roles. 

Recently, even more pressure and responsibility has piled upon the shoulders of many frontline workers. A 2021 UC Berkeley study found that 39% of restaurant workers had left their jobs because of harassment and hostility from customers. In addition, 49% of restaurant workers witnessed or experienced harassment from customers for enforcing COVID-19 safety protocols. So, now more than ever, frontline workers need to feel supported to not only get through the day but to become empowered so they can focus on the things that matter most. 

The Costs of Making Frontline Experience “Tomorrow’s Problem”.

The best time to invest in the future is now. For every day, week or year that you leave frontline modernization on the backburner, you rack up the following debts: 

Lack of Employee Support = Lack of Employees

Life is short, fleeting and easily disrupted by events out of our control. If not given adequate support, employees will look for another job elsewhere. We can see this happening in real time; a phenomenon known as the Great Resignation. A Harvard Business Review study found that in the last year, more than 47 million US workers had quit their jobs. One of the main reasons behind this mass exodus of workers is that they felt overwhelmed by increasing demands and unsupported by their workplace. 

The cost of replacing an employee can be between one half to two times the position’s annual salary. However, when you’re able to provide tech solutions that help employees feel supported, automate administrative tasks and ultimately do their job better, this can be avoided. 

Studies have revealed that within workforces, technology comes in third in a ranking of factors that can decrease workplace stress. Improving technological tools and providing access to quality apps can help employees manage their workloads and improve satisfaction. 

Personalized Coaching is Near Impossible 

Here’s a question; how can you provide individual, personalized coaching programs to every single employee on a daily basis? If you have a business with 5 staff members, you might be thinking; “time-consuming, but doable”, but if you have 5000 staff members, you’re probably thinking “not gonna happen” or “absolutely impossible”. Historically, it has been close to impossible to provide tailored coaching programs to individual frontline employees at scale. But with advanced technology solutions, that’s no longer the case.

Did you know that the  leading cause of disempowerment in the workplace is a lack of training and coaching? It’s pretty crazy when you consider that brands who are utilizing tech to offer personalized coaching to their frontline employees experience a 13% increase in employee efficiency, a 30% increase in revenue and a 38% rise in customer satisfaction.  In other words, if you’re not moderzing your frontline through personalized coaching technology, you’re missing out on a 13% increase in efficiency, 30% increase in revenue, and 38% increase in customer satisfaction. 

Customers Get Frustrated

Customers and employees are similar in that when faced with inadequate support and inefficiency - they leave. Customer expectations are on the rise. They want quick, easy and streamlined services. If the frontline is held back by outdated technology, it creates a more difficult and turbulent customer experience. Think longer wait times, poor communication and inconsistent messaging. Frustrated customers can easily churn and be lured by the seemingly easier, more convenient competitor. This sentiment is echoed by customers themselves, around 70% of customers say convenience is more important than business branding. Furthermore, unsatisfactory customer service has caused 39% of customers to never purchase from a company again and 37% to switch to a competitor. We know that customer acquisition costs about five times more than retention, so the cost of losing customers to frustration is an expensive one. 

Efficiency Goes Kaput 

As a business expands, it becomes more decentralized, especially if there are many remote cogs. Among non-management positions, 41% of workers say they don’t have the right tech tools to carry out their jobs efficiently. Workers are bogged down with administrative tasks that could easily be automated and streamlined with the right tech in place. For every minute spent on avoidable admin, another minute is lost to the customer experience. AskNicely customer Aptive Environmental, are a living example of what happens when you utilize tech to improve employee experience and efficiency. Prior to utilizing technology to support their frontline employees, they had a serious problem with rework. Their frontline workers were delivering inconsistent service across different locations, which resulted in damaged brand reputation and many employees having to redo their service to meet the customer’s expectations. By implementing technology that helped streamline tasks, give access to real-time customer feedback and provide personalized coaching, they were able to cut out rework, and increase their NPS score by 28 points! The rework cost we are saving alone pays for the tool and we have a lot more we can do now that we have AskNicely.” says Dane Dellenbach, Sr Director of Strategy and Innovation.

So, what are you waiting for? Delaying the modernization of your frontline just means you’ll be pushed further back into the past, with higher costs to face in the future. Brands that work with tech, rather than against tech will reap significant benefits to their employee efficiency, customer satisfaction and bottom line. Ready to modernize? Book in a demo with the AskNicely team today.

AskNicely Team
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AskNicely Team

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

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