The Value of Mobile Enterprise Communication Tools

By | Ideas For Your Business

Communication Tools Improve Business

Have you ever had the anxiety-inducing experience of being late for a flight and when you got to your seat there was no overhead space left for your bag? You had to make the awkward walk back to the front of the plane to gate check your bag. This is not only frustrating for you, but it also frustrates the airlines by potentially costing them millions of dollars. 

In 2018 it cost approximately $75 per minute to operate an aircraft.  Every minute spent waiting for your bag to be loaded costs airlines money. 

Delta Air Lines rolled out a set of applications called Flight Family Communication (FFC) in 2018 to help tackle flight delays by improving communication amongst employees. By building the FFC app that resides on employees’ existing devices, they were able to remove the reliance on antiquated tools like jetway phones, in-person conversations, or radio messages that could take employees away from their work stations.

This video from Delta provides an overview FFC:

As an output of this tool, they have been able to increase the efficiency and improve on-time departures on flights with less than needed ground time by 65%. Are there areas in your business where better communication tools such as FFC could improve associates’ jobs and the company’s bottom line? 

In addition to helping Delta implement FFC, BlueFletch has helped a number of other enterprises implement mobile communication tools that are focused on improving employee experience and productivity. 

Enterprise Communication Tools are valuable not because of massive one-time savings, but because of the myriad efficiencies gained over the course of a given process or workflow. Knowing when to roll or not roll a truck. Allowing a plane to start gate checking bags because overhead bins are full. Eliminating overtime while employees search for a product in the wrong place. 

Tips for Evaluating Enterprise Communication Tools

There are a number of off the shelf tools that help improve communication. You can also build a custom solution tailored precisely to your business similar to what Delta did. As you evaluate leveraging an existing tool or building your own, the following are key questions to consider: 

  • Role-Based Communication – Map out the roles within your organization. What are the common communications between different roles? Where are there areas where communication could be improved? An example of this would be in a retail scenario where your shoe salesperson has to call the stockroom on a walkie talkie to find out if a particular size is still available.
  • User-Based Communication/Presence – Where would it be helpful for your employees to know who is available or who is online?
  • Inter-Site Communication – Would an improved process to communicate between sites or locations improve your employee’s experience? A common example of this is a retail location calling another retail location to find out if a particular item is in stock.
  • Mediums Used for Communications – Review the mediums your employees are using for communication and understand what types of tooling would help them perform their roles in a more optimized way. Different mediums can be used for different purposes:
    • Text – Text messages are great for non-real time communication.
    • Audio – Being able to send audio snippets is a good replacement for walkie talkies. Tools like Voxer have popularized sending audio snippets between mobile devices.
    • Real-time Voice – Real-time voice is still a great medium for communicating complex items. Phone calls and VoIP are still predominant mediums between employees.
    • Images – Similar to voice, sending pictures from mobile devices can be used to clearly describe situations.
    • Video – With the advent of front-facing cameras on mobile devices, video has become a great option for communicating very complex topics between employees or even remote support employees.
  • Secure Messaging – Will your employees be relaying confidential (PII or HIPAA) or proprietary information? Having a modern communication tool that is properly secured and can audit these communications can lower your legal exposure.
 

Setting up Comms Tools to Drive Value

There are a few fundamental things you need to be successful at taking advantage of the above items:

  • Structure For Efficiency – If you are implementing a text-based component to your solution, take advantage of canned messages and support type-ahead/recommendations for free form messages.
  • Implement a Hierarchy Matched to your Business – One of the problems with walkie talkies and radios is that everyone has to hear every message. With modern communication tools, you can build a hierarchy that supports who sees and receives messages.
  • Support Message Acknowledge/Read Receipt – Implementing read/acknowledgment functionality reduces anxiety amongst employees and reduces over-communication fatigue.
  • Implement SSO/User Awareness  – If you have multiple employee tools on your mobile devices, build single sign-on into your communication tool.  BlueFletch has built an Enterprise Launcher that uses single sign-on with multiple communication tools (such as Zebra’s WFC). We have found that this SSO process helps prevent employees from “forgetting” to sign onto the communication tools.
  • Consider Archival Usage – If you are archiving messages and communications, you can start to take advantage of modern AI and Machine Learning to run message analytics and build a better understanding of the problems your employees are facing.

Small Savings Make Big Savings

Over time, operational wins like the ones described above add up to save lots of money. For example, in Retail:

  • Additional Customer Facing Time – If you could give each employee in your company an additional 10 minutes back per day to interact with customers it could add up to millions.
  • Improve Processes Like Out of StockBetter cross-store communications around stock lookups across locations could reduce failed sales due to out-of-stocks (a problem currently costing brick and mortar stores $1 trillion dollars).
  • More Efficient BOPIS Experiences – Improved communication around in-store pickup for online orders can allow for a seamless customer experience, the opportunity to cross-sell and save associates from searching for a product.
 

We Would Love Your Feedback

If you have questions on how to get messaging right for your business or enterprise, feel free to reach out to us at Info@BlueFletch.com

Working in a Learning Environment – and a Shout Out to Spinal Tap

By | BlueFletch Culture & News

Finding the right workplace setting for yourself is entirely subjective. There’s no doubt that certain career paths are better than others, but if you’re not personally in a position to capitalize on what is before you, then opportunity is wasted.

What have I found that works for me?

David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel may have put it best – “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”

While this might not sound applicable to the world of company culture, all of us have worked in situations where the knife’s edge of this line is traveled repeatedly.

At various times in my past I’ve worked at organizations where the leaders had a 3-strike policy on typos, claimed (in all seriousness) that they could outbox Mike Tyson in his prime, and staged impromptu spelling bees during work hours.

I’d like to think the intention behind all of these actions came from a good place – attention to detail, encouragement, self-discipline and fun. But it was never really made clear. Guiding principles and core purpose can’t be derived from spelling or eating donuts for cash (something I’ve also witnessed).

The manner in which these policies or statements manifested themselves in culture didn’t really do much to foster a culture of substance or put a unified direction on an approach to how its employees should strive to improve or work the greater good of the organization.

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Making Product Usability a Priority

By | Enterprise Mobility, Thought Leadership

Many enterprise organizations are operating on systems that were created decades ago. They know they need to update, but it’s just not that simple:

Lingering memories of over budget or poorly planned technology migrations make updating seem more daunting than it should be, and the result is employees languishing in the doldrums.

All of us have witnessed technologies fail in the workplace. Convoluted screen share or conferencing tools, bizarre ordering or inventory software, or just plain old, uncool technology that is frustrating to use.

How many of us have simply used our cell phones rather than deal with the jumble of wires in the middle of the conference table?

What if a significant portion of your workforce is obligated to use unusable tech to complete critical pieces of their tasks? They’re not going to be excited about interacting with it, and a negative attitude makes for subpar performance.

Too often the budgets and processes for IT infrastructure are not aligned to the business objectives and employee needs. Just because the IT department knows a system well doesn’t mean that the teams who use it daily like it or understand it. Read More

Coming to Terms with Introspection

By | Ideas For Your Business

I have a confession. I am a convert to the employee evaluation. I wasn’t even open to the idea of them.

My initial (misguided) mindset was that I didn’t particularly look forward to sitting in a room with one or more people who took turns telling me about my shortcomings. I mean, don’t we have enough neuroses already?

I was at organizations that utilized poorly realized, infrequent, or the non-existent “real-time” evaluation.

At BlueFletch we have a working solution in place. I’m not saying we’re perfect. Far from it. But by becoming involved in regular, constructive reviews as both a participant and facilitator, my opinion has changed. With a proper structure in place reviews are a valuable asset to the company and its people.

The employee evaluation on its face solves simple needs. It allows both the employed and employer a chance to openly talk about their respective views, progress and goals.

It’s not rocket science, but that doesn’t mean it takes care of itself. Why can they be so hard for organizations to conduct them regularly and constructively, and how can that be fixed?

Prioritize

The first thing to get kicked to the curb in any business where people are billed out based on the time they spend on work product is the non-billable. Put 2 or 3 people in a room for 30 to 60 minutes and multiply that by the number of employees in an organization, and the time spent on evaluations can be enough to keep some from even attempting it.

But maybe you’re not thinking about it right. What if spending 30 to 60 minutes made your company more productive, insightful and a better place to work? Consider that versus trying to overcome 25% churn in your employees since the last quarter.

High costs are relative.

employee review, enterprise mobile app development atlanta

Guide

Providing a framework for people to self-evaluate allows for a much less daunting process. At the beginning of the year lay out themes by which everyone in the company can measure him/herself. The range can be broad (self improvement, business writing, attention to detail, etc), but it gives people a starting point.

You also get an opportunity to learn how your team members think. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you ask a group of sharp folks to focus on specific intention for review.

Form(alize)

Much like the thematic guide, literally provide your team with a form to use. Just because we’re sitting in a room talking about ourselves doesn’t mean we can’t still be consultants and give people something concrete to complete.

Ask everyone to submit the form to their reviewers 24 hours before the meeting.  

employee evaluation, enterprise mobile app development atlanta

Measure

When reviewing employees regularly, give them goals against which to measure success. As an example – ask them to self-identify 3 to 5 items to work on until the next review.

This gives a natural segue into check-ins throughout the interim period between reviews and also allows employees to gauge their improvement velocity.

Push

Oftentime people don’t know they have the freedom to do things like attend training seminars or acquire new products without prodding from the company.

Make sure that they are aware of this and set it as an expectation to be discussed during the reviews.

These building blocks take initiative to put in place and maintain, but the immediate and long term effects will prove positive.



The Search for the Best Path

By | Ideas For Your Business

It’s a given that every client engagement is going to differ, in some ways, from what was originally envisioned or scoped.

Nearly everyone who works in professional services for even a short while knows this. A big part of the service you provide comes by making sure that the risks are mitigated and a successful outcome is the end result.

Since this reality is no secret, it can’t really be used as an excuse for not getting things done.

Rather than allowing less than perfect elements of a project to get in the way, make sure you empower yourself, your team and your client to continue moving forward no matter what.

backwards

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