By James Teat, President, Axcess Technology Source
In today’s fast paced environment business owners and managers are constantly on the lookout for the next, best technical solution to enable them to give better customer service, make do with fewer employees, make existing employees more productive, and reduce losses due to shrinkage. With minimum wages and shrinkage numbers rising across the country; it is vitally important to get maximum productivity from all your existing employees. A low tech, affordable solution that doesn’t encroach on your exiting bandwidth and needs no additional infrastructure is the use of two way radios for instant communications between workers and management. Retailers, restaurants, and hospitality concerns have known for a long time that by improving the consumers experience while in store they will receive the benefits of more loyal shoppers, larger purchases, and better “word of mouth” referrals. Consumers who are able to get help while in the store are 8x more likely to make a purchase but in today’s environment it is increasingly difficult to find someone to help or that is knowledgeable about the products/policies/problem. Using two way radios will allow your employees to be able to stay with a customer while they get answers to their questions and will allow new employees to draw from the cumulative experience of all other employees when helping a customer. One large national retailer of clothes and footwear who is considered “leading edge” recently expressed that “their two way radios were an integral part of their unique shopping experience”. A manager in another national home goods store stated “the radios allow me to do my job better because I’m not having to walk all over the store to answer questions” and “you wouldn’t believe how much time they save me”. Two way radios have a very fast ROI that is easily determined by calculating a time savings of only 5 minutes and hour over the course of the day for an employee making minimum wage. If the store is open 8 hours a day for 6 days a week, the radios will pay for themselves in about five weeks. ROI for higher wage employees using the radios will be considerably shorter. Two way radios are a one-time expense as there are no recurring charges; once you buy them they are yours to use. They are rugged [meet or exceed mil specs] for drops and falls on concrete, water spray, thermal shock, vibration and dust. These devices are intended to survive the daily use by a wide range of people doing diverse jobs which in some cases subject the radios to harsh environments. A national license [all analog radios need to be licensed with the FCC] will allow a business to operate on the same frequencies throughout their locations and will cost less than $400 for a ten year period of time.
New digital technologies in two way radios do not have to be licensed and provide a solution to companies operating along the “A” line [companies operating analog radios within 50 miles of either side of the Canadian border must get licenses in both countries]. Digital radios are the “technology of the future” due to narrow banding concerns and their enhanced features. Costs are a little higher for the new radios but are offset by being license free and providing more range with lower power, reducing the need for higher watt output, more expensive analog radios. Small, lightweight digital radios will eventually replace analog radios in all but the largest malls, schools, medical facilities, manufacturing plants and construction sites.
Once most end users try out radios they wonder how they were ever able to operate without them. During a three week trial one retail end user store manager was approached by the vendor to see how the trial was going and upon recognizing the salesman, the manager exclaimed “you are not here to take away my radio are you?”. The salesman explained that he was there to monitor the test and see how it was going but that the manager had probably answered his question already.
If you are interested in making your employees more productive, give better customer service, reduce shrinkage, and improve the customer’s experience you should give two way radios a try—I don’t think you will be disappointed.