In business, we tend to only consider the surface costs of a process, like salaries, new technologies, or easily trackable invoices. When we neglect to consider the cost of poor processes, bad information management, and subpar operations, we are passively letting precious resources continue to go to waste.
Field visits are just one of those many processes we can take control of and optimize. When we take a good hard look at how things are traditionally done, there is a lot of room for improvement. Until now, field visits have been conducted with some pretty archaic systems and practices. Here are three ways to optimize the field visit process…
Kiss Your Notes and Spreadsheets Goodbye
Spreadsheets, notes, to-do lists, etc are all great for certain purposes, but field visits aren’t one of them. So much gets lost in translation with text. Instead, consider introducing images into your field visit process. Pictures take the subjectivity or need for translation out of the equation and less text is needed to explain the issue.
The field visit manager can easily take photos of areas of the store that require action. Now, the issue is documented in the simplest, most effective way. Then, when the issue is reconciled, the store manager can document and report with an image as well. Saving time and increasing efficiency at both ends of the equation and eliminates the possibility of false reporting.
Use Cloud-Based Technology to Increase Collaboration and Transparency
This traditionally paper-based system truly needs an overhaul. Consider doing away with paper for this entire process and bring it all online, in a centralized information hub with access for anyone, anywhere who needs it. We’d be willing to guess most of your processes have already switched over to being cloud-based, why not your store visits?
When objective, thorough information is centralized and easily accessible, you will be able to better utilize this information. You can start to identify patterns, struggles, and wins. You can strengthen your recognition programs, offer the right support to struggling stores, and spot trends as they’re developing.
Implement Work Queues
The biggest issue we consistently see with store visits is follow through -what happens after the store visit. Pieces of paper and endless email threads are where action items go to die. Lost in the shuffle. Not my job. I didn’t even know about it. Those are just a few of our favorites.
Automatic work queues are extremely applicable with most workflow processes, and store visits are no exception. From scheduling, to the reconciliation of an action item, the field visit has a lot of moving parts. This process needs orchestration to run smoothly and effectively. Consider adding automated work queues to your field visit process. Every action item is assigned a directly responsible individual. Once their responsibility is fulfilled and documented, the next action and directly responsible person will receive a work queue. This system instills responsibility and transparent accountability.
Are these changes you would like to see reflected in your store branding and compliance management strategy? Are you ready to measurable improvements in your store visit process? We can help you with that! Let’s talk today. .