How can efficiency be improved in teams?

We look at use of communication technology in DIY stores.

Article by John Hicks | 2nd November 2021

It’s no secret that DIY stores thrived during the pandemic. With Brits stuck indoors for months on end, many turned their attention to home improvement.

This growth looks set to continue. While lockdown may have piqued the nation’s interest in DIY, there are no signs of people abandoning their projects. Sales have remained strong into 2021, so much so that Wickes recently increased its annual profit forecast to £75 million

This is great for your bottom line, but it puts a lot of pressure on colleagues. Experts are warning of an unusually harsh flu season, so numbers are likely to be tight throughout the winter. With busy stores and limited colleagues, maximising efficiency will be the only way to make it through.  This is where we can help. 

It’s all about communication

A lot of inefficiency boils down to a lack of communication. This is especially true in DIY stores where colleagues struggle to keep in touch across multiple departments and large floor spaces. This is where VoCoVo shines. By connecting colleagues at all times, our system bridges even the largest of gaps. Here’s how it works:

1. Cut out unnecessary walking

Whether it’s searching for the answer to a customer query or visiting the stockroom to check on an order, colleagues spend a lot of time on their feet. This is especially problematic in the DIY sector. The sheer size of stores can mean that colleagues end up walking several kilometres a day. 

Apart from the exercise, all of this walking has few benefits. It leaves colleagues tired and customers impatient. Our products are designed to cut out unnecessary walking so that you can focus on the job at hand:

  • Headsets allow colleagues to contact the stockroom without walking there
  • Colleagues can contact other departments immediately to find information for customers
  • In larger stores, this can save each colleague up to 1.4km of walking per day

Although not strictly a DIY store, our work with Halfords is a good example of this approach in action. Halfords branches are typically very large and include both indoor and outdoor areas. Colleagues working outside found themselves constantly reentering the store to check information. Our headsets changed all this, as store manager Tom James explains:

“VoCoVo allows us to work on customers’ cars outside, whilst still being fully connected to the rest of the team. It’s completely changed the way we work.

Read more about our work with Halfords:

2. Access specialised knowledge 

DIY stores are home to decades of expertise. Some colleagues have worked in the same department for years, building up a formidable store of knowledge. When a newer colleague needs help with a specialised task, it makes sense to go to the most knowledgeable person. 

Asking for help on the store’s shared channel is certainly preferable to walking around looking for an answer, but there is still no guarantee that you’re asking the best person. This is where our add-on features can help: 

  • One to one calling allows colleagues to contact a specific person directly
  • Our conference feature allows you to create separate channels for different areas of knowledge. If a colleague has a question about woodwork, they can dial into the woodwork channel and speak to the experts. 

Giving colleagues immediate access to the store’s shared knowledge means that they can answer customer queries faster and master complex tasks in record time. 

3. Never miss a customer

Being unable to find a colleague is a major turn off for customers. One in five say that this is their biggest frustration with in-store shopping. One in three will leave the store if they haven’t been helped within ten minutes.

Once again, the size of DIY stores exacerbates this problem. Customers end up roaming the aisles in search of assistance, growing ever more frustrated with each passing minute.

While you can’t be everywhere at once, our system ensures that you are always easy to reach:

  • Call points can be placed strategically around the store. These act as a direct line of communication between customers and colleagues.
  • When a customer needs help, they simply press the call point. This sends an alert to all colleagues, telling them the customer’s position. 
  • Colleagues can attend to the customer in person or answer their question remotely. Either way, the customer can get an answer without having to search for a colleague. 

Call points are especially handy in DIY stores. Certain tasks such as mixing paint will always require input from a colleague. However, these tasks aren’t common enough to justify stationing a colleague in the area permanently . Putting a call point next to the paint mixing station means that customers can always get the help they need without colleagues being tied to a single aisle. 

This is just the beginning. We’re always coming up with new ways to save time with VoCoVo. Give us a call to find out more. 


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