Managing frontline workers is one of the greatest challenges of the era. These people get neglected so often and so easily that it’s no wonder they’re leaving in droves and turning to the gig economy for a living.
The chief issue lies in obsolete management procedures: namely, the majority of managers lack the practical knowledge in the field. Instead of assessing their approaches, they rely on knowledge obtained in textbooks, which doesn’t reflect reality for frontline work.
That’s why businesses need to train their frontline managers, first and foremost, and only then move on to more complex steps (which we’ll mention here nevertheless).
Train Your Frontline Managers
Bad relationships with the management are the most common reason why frontline employees decide to look for better job prospects elsewhere.
As mentioned above, frontline managers usually lack field experience.
Even though they may not know how to address each specific situation at first, management hasn’t changed overnight.
Frontline managers should stick to the management process, as follows:
- Customer acquisition – Use marketing, advertising, and promotion
- Estimating & quoting – Estimate a cost and ask for customer feedback
- Task outlining – divide the job into smaller tasks
- Scheduling – Allocate the necessary resources and staffing +
- Timesheeting –Record employees’ working hours
- Emailing & document exchange – Dispatch documents relevant to the job to stakeholders
- Cost management
- Work-in-progress management
- Reporting – Collect the data for further reference
Next on, project management software may help both the managers and the employees simplify many an issue.
Current operation trends include, but are not limited to:
- IoT for asset management
- Cloud-based inventory management
- Artificial intelligence for business automation
- Inventory management software for supply chains
Offer Advanced Training Options
Once frontline managers know how to handle their teams, you should also offer your frontline workers the opportunity to hone their skills.
Customized courses and training sessions are a better solution than generic courses, unless you have to train new hires with zero prior expertise.
Organize practice sessions where frontline employees can role-play different situations.
Lastly, make sure to assign a mentor to each new hire. In this way, every employee will know where to go for answers when they’re out of their depths.
Deploy the Right Tools
Make sure to use up-to-date tech wherever it will simplify work instead of complicating it. New technologies are evolving rapidly, meaning that new apps are popping up all the time.
Consider using relevant tools for all stages of frontline work and make sure to provide training.
Start with the simplest solutions like time-tracking software, which can be used for all of your frontline teams. Then move on to specific apps and software that can be used for certain roles.
If you run a delivery service, dispatch software can help you keep on track and provide relevant information.
Organize Call Center Processes
For customer support representatives, set up processes that offer a solution to any kind of unforeseen situation.
- Answer the following questions to get an idea on which topics to include:
- What should customer representatives say when they pick up the call?
- What should customer representatives do when they don’t know the answer to the question?
- How will customer representatives track the inquiries?
- What should customer representatives do when the call is over?
- Add any additional potential issue that you deem may occur.
Define the processes clearly and assign mentors to your frontline employees. In this way, when they don’t know how to handle a situation, they’ll know who to ask.
Deploy Center Automation
Contact center automation can be rather useful.
While there are different solutions to consider in this matter, some common usages include:
- Automating processes
- Empowering employees
- Connecting with customers
- Driving continual improvement
Pick automation software that combines unified RPA and conversational AI capabilities. This will help you to optimize processes and streamline procedures, which will boost frontline employees’ performance and morale.
Use the Latest Tech
Why the latest tech is useful is not rocket science.
However, there are some specific tools that can aid frontline teams in multiple areas, as follows:
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a method for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet.
Interactive voice response (IVR) is a technology that allows humans to interact with a computer-operated phone system through the use of voice and DTMF tones input via a keypad. In telecommunications, IVR allows customers to interact with a company’s host system via a telephone keypad or by speech recognition, after which services can be inquired about through the IVR dialogue.
An automated call distribution (ACD) system is a telephony device that answers and distributes incoming calls to a specific group of terminals or agents within an organization. ACDs often use a voice menu to direct callers based on the customer’s selection.
Set up Record-Keeping Systems
Finally, a reliable record-keeping system should be implemented into your business procedures. Frontline teams should be consistent in reporting; the practice should apply to both recurring situations and new procedures.
Keep track of all calls so that repeat callers don’t have to explain everything to everyone every time they call.
Establish a knowledge management system for a seamless data flow and make sure it’s accessible to everyone.
Offer Training Options
Make sure to provide your frontline teams with customized training (eLearning is usually the best approach).
However, it is also necessary to train frontline managers as they often lack crucial knowledge on how to handle various situations.
In fact, the main reason why frontline employees are looking for better job prospects elsewhere (and they’re doing that in droves) is a bad relationship with the management, so think about it.
Frontline managers often lack field experience, so this, at least, can be addressed.
As you can see, much and more can be done to assist your frontline teams — from solid procedures to the latest tech.
Sometimes, even the smallest hacks with help. Modernize your manual processes: there are so many apps available that can simplify recurring, boring tasks that take away precious time that can otherwise be used for important tasks.