News Feature | June 20, 2016

Walmart Cuts Back-Office Jobs To Bring More Workers in Touch With Customers

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Walmart Cuts Back Office

Adjustments are part of overall strategy to improve customer satisfaction and fulfillment.

Walmart has been working actively to increase its customer satisfaction ratings while also optimizing its fulfillment capabilities and drive more profitable sales.  In May, Walmart announced the return of greeters to the front doors of its stores in an effort to both boost customer services and improve loss prevention efforts, as Innovative Retail Technologies reported. And last year, the retail giant made significant changes to its in-store management roles in order to improve shopper service.

The retailer has now  announced that it is cutting approximately 1500 accounting and other back-office positions at 500 locations in the Western region of the U.S. in order to move more employees to the customer-facing parts of the stores, reported. Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said that the affected employees would be offered positions such as pharmacy technicians or in the online pickup department instead, with the goal of getting workers out of the back rooms and onto the selling floor to interact more closely with the customers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In an address to shareholders earlier this month, President and CEO Doug McMillion outlined his vision for the future of the company, stating that “We have the opportunity to reimagine retail again.”

He asserted, “As the world becomes more digital, it will be the humanity of Walmart that differentiates us and wins with customers,” he said. “Our investments in education and training, store structure, wages, hours and sales floor technology are to support you and enable you to serve your customers and members. Every associate has a role to play. The actions of 2.3 million of you add up to something big.”

He added, “This is our ambition globally: we want to be the first place busy families go to save money and time, especially on their everyday needs. We’re connecting all the parts of Walmart into one seamless shopping experience with great stores, easy pickup, fast delivery, and apps and websites that are simple to use.”

According to Lundberg, Walmart is now centralizing its invoice department for the Western region, using “cash recycler” machines to automatically count money, and implementing other changes that will help refocus attention to the customer and improve efficiency.

"What we are doing is taking the complexities out of old cumbersome jobs and simplifying things in the store," Lundberg said. "How can we get the focus less on the backroom jobs?"

“We’ll be there for our customers – making their lives simpler and better. And customers will choose Walmart because we’ve earned it,” McMillon said.