Three effective ways to empower your front line

by Nicky Budd-Thanos, on May 14, 2019

Frontline employees act as spokespeople for your company and ambassadors of your brand - they can make or break your customers’ experience. There’s no question that highly empowered, motivated and engaged team members have better customer interactions and work more efficiently than disengaged employees. Gallup found that engaged employees are 17% more productive, yet 77% of U.S. workers report that they do not feel engaged at their jobs today.

As Crew customer, Primary Aim, put it:

How can you empower your teams so they stay motivated and engaged? According to findings from the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute, significantly higher levels of discretionary effort were directly linked to employees reporting a positive employee experience. At Crew, we get to see the creative approaches that thousands of managers use to connect with their teams. In fact, in a recent customer survey, 73% of respondents said that Crew helps to increase employee motivation.

Here are three best practices that actually work to get your team engaged and motivated:

1. Share customer feedback data with your team
Most service businesses are constantly doing customer surveys, tracking reviews and monitoring ‘voice of the customer’ data. Several quick-service restaurants customers of ours use Crew to then send that aggregated survey data to employees. This is as easy as snapping a photo of the data you want to share, @mentioning any team members who contributed to that customer’s experience and sending it out as a message or announcement to the appropriate group.

What’s great about this is that by highlighting positive reviews (and maybe areas for improvement from time-to-time), you’ll motivate your front line to reach - and exceed - their customer service goals. It’s always a good idea to communicate exactly what’s working well so the whole team is encouraged to repeat and replicate that behavior.

2. Reward employees with recognition
A Psychometrics study asked employees what their leaders could do to improve engagement, and 58% of respondents replied “give more recognition". We recently talked with a Domino’s franchise in Texas that’s using Crew to do just that. Each time a pizza delivery earns positive customer feedback, the customer care manager awards a Gold Star to the team member who made the pizza and to the person who delivered it.

Example of how to give out a Gold Star with a description

Frontline staff accumulate these tokens of recognition, and at the end of each month, the owners give an Amazon gift card to employees with the most Gold Stars.This is an excellent way for any business to recognize outstanding employees who go above and beyond in customer service. By using tangible rewards, you’re showing your team that you not only notice but truly value their contributions, and as a result, they’ll be more likely to go out of their way to solve complicated customer problems and make customers happy.

3. Promote direct and open communication across stores
Once you get going with these first two strategies, you'll notice that what this is really about is fostering a culture of transparent communication across your teams and stores. Simply by seeing the customer service feedback and employee rewards for certain high-performing stores, your other teams will take notice and be motivated to drive similar success. For instance, a Wendy's franchisee HR Director implemented Crew and with the increased communication, saw a more motivated front line and an 8x increase in attach sales.

You could also share a video or tips from top stores about how they achieved their results. This both celebrates entire teams for positive improvements, and at the same time empowers other store managers to push for better business outcomes. Mark Sulzle, an Area Coach with Pizza Hut franchisee Staab Management, has his team regularly share labor stats to not only keep all locations on the same page, but to also drive them to perform at and above the goals that are being set.

When a team or an individual employee knows they are valued, they’re more likely to deliver increased value for your business in return. What’s most important is to make sure you notice when employees are going the extra mile and empower all of your frontline staff to do the same. As a result, you’ll increase employee productivity and customer satisfaction will soar.

What are your best tips for empowering your team? Let us know on Twitter!

Photo by Daniel Norris on Unsplash

Topics:Best PracticesEmployee RecognitionEmployee Engagement