It’s been an eventful few weeks for us after our UK team attended the Smile London conference on November 12. We went, we listened and we learned quite a lot from fellow internal communicators and employee engagement managers.
It was even more exciting for us because one of our beloved clients, Penny Grivea, UK Managing Director for Rituals, shared the stage with our own Managing Director for UK & Ireland, Guy Chiswick, at the event. Here’s the full video of the session, plus some extra insights from Penny.
How do you find the right balance between technology and human interaction with internal communications?
Penny: We actually make it mandatory for our employees to download the Speakap app (iOS or Android) onto their mobile devices when they accept a job with Rituals. More specifically, the store managers have their mobile devices (and Speakap app) on the shop floors all day/during their shifts, while store associates switch off their phones during the peak hours of 12 pm to 6 pm.
This isn’t what some other brands might do, but it’s an important approach for us. While some other companies might be worried about employees becoming distracted by their mobile devices and using them to message friends, we look at the Speakap app/platform as a necessary channel to motivate and spark healthy competition between our managers, which leads to better team performance and higher sales per store.
But it isn’t just about increasing sales for us; it’s about keeping our managers updated quickly and effectively when technical difficulties arise. Let me give you an example. A few weeks ago, our cash registers (tills) stopped working for a few hours and we used Speakap to inform the managers at the affected stores instantly about the problem. Not only did our store managers get the information easily and instantly, but they were also able to use that knowledge to inform the store associates so they could better manage our customers’ expectations. That’s the key.
Imagine what would have happened if we didn’t allow our store managers to use their mobile devices and Speakap on the shop floors during their shifts. The consequences would be tremendously damaging – not just for our employees, but for our customers too.
It would have taken much longer – hours, if not more – to let our store associates know about the technical issues. That would have caused confusion amongst our employees, which would then delay the quantity of sales transactions and hamper the quality of customer service.
There’s a famous quote from Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, which I believe is the crux of how I look at the voice of the customer. Bezos says, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
What are the most important KPIs you look at when measuring the success of internal communications for Rituals?
Penny: As a retail brand where the voice of the customer and a superior customer experience are critical to our success, we look at certain KPIs that other brands in different industries may not consider important. But for me, in particular, I evaluate how effective Speakap has been for us in the following ways:
- Employee engagement
- Customer satisfaction
- Cash flow
If you could do one thing differently, what would it be?
Penny: I would have launched Speakap a lot sooner. No really, I’m serious. In fact, our employees log into Speakap about 8.5 times per day. That’s a positive sign that it’s working the way it should – our employees are getting the most relevant information they need to do their jobs and are able to share learnings with their colleagues and other teams.
In addition to helping us support, empower and engage the thousands of employees we have across all 720 of our stand-alone stores, it’s made a tremendous impact on our actual customer loyalty, retention and sales. In fact, it’s led to a 25 percent growth in our business in the UK. You can’t argue with those numbers.
Written by Ragini Bhalla
A veteran in B2B content and communications, Ragini lives and breathes for storytelling, traveling (up to over 50 countries and still so many more to explore) and trying out new foods.