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A Major Clothing Retailer Forgets that EX Drives CX

A top-flight retailer equips employees with several apps to expedite sales and keep customers happy. Curiously, it manages employee performance with “a little piece of paper” handed out at the start of each shift. Read what can be done to improve that imbalance and how the employee experience (EX) drives the customer experience (CX).

By: Gal Rimon, Founder & CEO, Centrical

A Major Clothing Retailer Forgets that EX Drives CX

It Uses ‘A Little Paper’ For Employee Performance Management

An article in The New York Times looked at life at retail during the holiday selling season. It centered on a busy Manhattan store of a big, well-regarded apparel chain and one of its merchandising managers. 

I wasn’t surprised to read the retailer equipped employees with several apps to expedite sales and keep customers happy. There’s one that checks on stock, another that places an order from the sales floor for shipment if an item isn’t in the store. There’s one app that pushes hourly sales figures, credit card sign-ups, and other data to employees.  Also not astonishing: employees are equipped with mobile devices to access the apps. 

What struck me as odd was how employee performance is managed; how their goals are presented. Each employee is handed “a little piece of paper” at the start of a shift. The article notes each employee carries that slip of paper on which employees put their goals based on prescribed focuses.

The contrast to all the apps used to push sales versus the analog method used to manage employee performance hit me as quite significant. 

Retailers who continue to emphasize the customer experience, the CX, at the expense of the employee experience, the EX, will likely see same store performance slip. CX is driven by EX. And that’s aided by AI-powered tools that can be placed in the hands of employees on the sales floor of any retail chain. Employees who know what to do and how to do it perform their best. 

Instead of a slip of paper that can’t possibly have a feedback mechanism built in, you can motivate, train, and track employees in the flow of their work with a platform that lets them know how they’re doing on truly transparent goals and, further, understand what’s needed to be done to reach them.

Since retail sales can be frenetic, change will happen – and fast. You can’t engage an employee in a contest if the reason for doing so isn’t totally clear.  You can’t change employees’ KPIs on the fly when they’re printed on paper. You can’t let them know about a price change or a short-term promotion without pulling them from the sales floor for a quick huddle. And managers can’t direct employees’ efforts if one-on-one sessions only deal with less-than-personalized performance retroactively. A platform with advanced gamification, personalized microlearning, and real-time performance management turns all those can’ts into cans with ease and efficiency.

A Verizon premier retail partner, Cellular Sales, uses just such a platform. The wireless device store’s equivalent of the holiday selling season is whenever a new iPhone is introduced. Brian Snyder, a regional director there, said “Normally when we run a sales contest, you see a spike in one KPI but the others fall.” Using the platform, he’s able to run sales challenges that shine a spotlight on one KPI without losing ground on the others.

This means when that new iPhone comes out his sales teams not only sell more devices, 53% more on average, but they also sell more phone accessories and insurance plans; resulting in more revenue on average per sale. Snyder added, “we are working faster and more efficiently than ever before” with Centrical.

You simply cannot do that when your employee engagement and performance management system is “a little paper.”


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