How to get answers, train new associates and answer the phone on a single device. The future of retail communication with VoCoVo

With fewer associates in stores, many teams are struggling to cope. Here’s how our headsets can make your workload more manageable.

Article by Tom Thurlow | 28th March 2024

If you work in retail, you’ll be well aware that the industry is facing an unprecedented labor shortage. Hundreds of thousands of associates quit during the pandemic, and many of these positions have remained unfilled ever since:

  • The retail sector lost 800,000 jobs in 2020, four times as many as in the previous three years combined
  • By the end of 2022, a million retail positions were unstaffed
  • Despite improvements in economic conditions, the number of vacancies was still well over 600,000 at the end of 2023


Sadly, things show no sign of improving in 2024. A recent survey found that 62% of the nation’s hourly workers are planning to leave their jobs in the next 12 months. As an industry that relies heavily on such workers, retail is likely to bear the brunt of this exodus. 


This makes for grim reading, but there’s no need to despair. By improving communication on the sales floor, we can help you to do more with a smaller team. Our headsets ease the pressure on associates, improving retention rates and keeping things running smoothly for customers. Here’s how it works. 


Our new Headset is the best yet. Here’s why: 


Associates are stretched thin

With fewer associates in stores, those that remain are being forced to work harder. 38% of associates say that staff shortages are the biggest challenge they face, and three quarters have been forced to take on extra responsibilities as a result. 


Read the full report here:


This has created a vicious cycle. Labor shortages put extra pressure on remaining associates, and this leads to even more resignations. The US retail industry has an annual turnover rate of over 60%, rising to 95% for part time associates. As long as shortages persist, these numbers will continue to increase. 

With so many vacancies, many stores are turning to younger workers to fill the gaps. This is a great way to bump up your numbers, but these associates need to be trained. Finding an experienced associate to perform this training is often challenging, creating yet another obstacle to filling vacancies. 

In order to avoid catastrophe, stores must take a two-pronged approach- easing the pressure on existing associates while making it easier to hire and train new recruits. This is where we can help. 


Less walking, more talking 

We’re all hoping that hiring rates will pick up soon. In the meantime, though, our Headsets are the next best thing. By allowing associates to communicate instantly from anywhere in-store, we can improve efficiency and reduce stress for smaller teams:

  • Associates can get information for customers without leaving their side. If an associate is unable to answer a question, they can speak to another team member without having to find them first. This saves 1500 yards of unnecessary walking per shift.
  • Headsets are hands-free, allowing associates to complete manual tasks while they talk. This kind of multitasking can improve task efficiency by 105 minutes a day
  • Telephony integration lets associates take external calls from the shop floor. This saves team members walking to the phone every time it rings, cutting out interruptions and reducing the likelihood of missed calls. 


Training made easy 

Of course, easing the pressure on existing associates is only part of the puzzle. Stores need to bring new recruits up to speed as quickly as possible, and this is another area in which our headsets shine:

  • Headsets can be used to train new associates on the job. Experienced team members can perform their usual tasks while simultaneously explaining them to new recruits. This means that you don’t have to remove a senior team member from the floor to lead a training session. 
  • Headsets act as a safety net for new recruits. They can start work safe in the knowledge that expert advice is always a button press away.
  • Our conference feature lets you create separate conversations for each store department. If a new associate is stuck on a particular topic, they can tune in to the relevant conference and get help immediately. 
  • Messagecast can be used to remind new team members of their duties in a non-intrusive way. Management can send an automated reminder for an associate to perform a certain task, and the receiver can mark the task as done once they’ve completed it.


Find out more about training with VoCoVo:


Things will always be harder with fewer associates, but they don’t have to be impossible. By improving communication among existing team members and speeding up training for new recruits, we can get you fighting fit for 2024. Talk to our team today to find out more.

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