CHICAGO—When c-store owners or managers think about digitizing, odds are the first thing that comes to mind is elevating customer service and experience. But digitizing your back-end operations can do just as much for your day-to-day store operations and benefit your employees.

At Wednesday’s education session, “Digitizing the Back Office,” representatives from WorkJam, Circle K and Chevron talked about how the digitization effort may seem daunting at first, but the benefits your business can reap are well worth the effort.

Ed Dzadovsky, vice president of North America IT for Circle K, said the convenience sector was, at one point, lagging in digitization, but that is no longer the case.

“We were one of the last industries to be touched by digital transformation,” he said. “That couldn’t be further from the truth today.”

Dzadovsky said implementing a digitization system like WorkJam has changed the culture at Circle K. WorkJam’s suite of productivity tools for frontline employees is designed to improve employee engagement.

“We went to an announced store visit with our CEO,” he said. “On the way out the door, the manager asked if he could take a picture and post it to WorkJam.”

Will Eadie, chief revenue officer for WorkJam, said the system has been adopted in 45 countries and more than 45 languages by companies like Circle K, Shell, Chevron and Apple.

“And what drives all this?” he asked. “The workplace is as unpredictable as ever. Managers say, ‘I have to hire as many people as I can and keep the people I have.’ And how do you do that? You need tools.”

Pam Beitia, customer success manager for WorkJam, outlined key “pain points,” or areas where most stores have problems, including multiple resource locations and access issues, outdated delivery modes and sparse work and life tools. She said addressing these areas can lead to happier employees and more productivity.

“If they’re not getting [employees] exactly what they need,” she said, “they’re going to lose out on sales and employee loyalty to the organization.”

Diane Sheih, IT manager for Chevron Corp., appeared in a special video presentation to outline that company’s transition to a digital workflow. She said engaging with employees on all levels—not just the customer experience—was essential for Chevron to make the change.

“We discovered a direct correlation between employee experience and customer experience,” she said. “In order to have happy customers, we had to have happy employees.”

“A lot of people didn’t learn courtesy at home. You have to teach them,” he said. “They need to learn that part of their job is to turn customers around so that they come back to the store. Never get nasty with the customer. There is no upside to winning an argument with a customer. None.”

Finally, create an environment and culture where people know they matter.

“How can you convey to your employees their importance? Tell them!” Cockerell said. “Make them feel special. Connect with them. Be available. That sends a message that you care about them. People want to know they matter.”

Develop an organization where people know that if they get in trouble, you’ll be there for them, he added.

“Appreciation, recognition and encouragement is what drives people, and there is no cost involved,” Cockerell said. “You wake up with a full tank of that fuel every morning. Use it.”

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