Smartphones aren’t just for crushing candy or watching funny cat videos. While those are admittedly some of their best features, they can also be powerful tools in the hands of your retail sales staff. Don’t believe us? Here are 5 reasons you should think twice before banning smartphones at work.
1. Quickly answer customers’ questions. Even the most knowledgeable sales staff can be stumped by a tricky question. Having a smartphone conveniently in their pockets gives employees access to the information they need to excel. As Jennifer Lonoff Schiff explains in an article for CIO, that translates into sales. Beyond googling tough questions, employees can also use their phones to scan barcodes and look up inventory at other locations if a product is out of stock.
2. The phone isn’t your problem. From the dawn of time, there have been two types of employees: the time-wasters, and the hard workers. Unproductive employees existed before the invention of the smartphone, and they’ll find creative ways to slack off with or without their phones. A good employee is motivated to be productive, and implementing a company cellphone policy can help by giving them clear guidelines to follow. The bottom line is, you should be monitoring your staff’s productivity, not necessarily their cell phone usage.
3. A mental break makes a happy worker. Believe it or not, allowing your staff to take quick phone breaks to send a text or check Facebook translates into better customer service and increased productivity. That’s because they’re happier. According to research from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, employees who spent an average of 20 accumulated minutes on their phones throughout their shifts were reportedly happier at the end of the day, without decreasing their productivity.
4. Staying organized at work. Your sales staff can download apps to help them stay on top of their schedules, organize shift changes with coworkers, check their sales numbers, take notes, and set reminders. In this way, the smartphone can empower your staff to take responsibility for their own work performance.
5. Building corporate culture. Apps like Foko allow staff to show off their company pride by sharing visual content with their coworkers. In this way, smartphones can turn a regular employee into a brand ambassador, and foster a spirit of team building and creativity.
Smartphones aren’t going anywhere any time soon. The forward-thinking employer can use smartphones in the workplace to their advantage, rather than fight the (losing) battle of banning them altogether.