Let’s address the obvious. The world as we know it has been turned upside down and there is a good chance we will never be the same again.
In terms of business, much of the world’s workforce has been relegated to moving from working in offices with colleagues close by and all of the comforts of a professional workspace at our disposal, to now having to work from home; which has been deemed by man as the “new normal”. However, this new normal is quite unknown to many. As one LinkedIn pundit put it, “We are not working from home. We are at home, in a crisis, trying to work.”
While this may indeed be true, the reality is that now more than ever businesses are having to go the extra mile in delivering customer service. Additionally, organisations are having to enable their now remote workforce, who themselves are in an unfamiliar position, to provide that superior experience. To say this is no easy task is an understatement as it has left businesses scrambling to ensure their people have what they need to meet the demand of their customers.
With that in mind, we have four principles below that will provide guidance on what you can do to engage your work from home employees to provide better customer service.
Recognise What Your Employees Need
The current situation has left us all uneasy and quite unsettled; this includes your employees. Take the time to recognise that. While employees are looking to do the best job possible, there is tension, anxiety, and concern for their own welfare, that of their loved ones and also for their jobs; not to mention how they have been impacted by the downturn of the global economy.
One of the best things corporate leaders can do is affirm this with their teams and give them an open and safe place to share their concerns and voice any fears they have. Simply ignoring it is not an option. Why? Because when your team does not believe they have the support of their employer, it translates to the customer.
Every business is in the people business and that starts with creating a constructive and supportive work culture and experience. If you have not already done so, set a time to have an all-hands whether company-wide or within your department with one goal in mind, to listen and support your teams. Your customers will thank you for it.
Enable Your Employees
One of the best things employers can do for their work from home employees is to enable them to deliver customer service. This most likely means developing new training that starts with reinforcing your brand value and promise while letting employees know what their role is in delivering that to customers while working remotely.
This training ensures that nothing is left to chance and employees will gain a clear understanding in the part they will play in customer engagement and service delivery during this “all hands on deck” time in which we are living.
Now is the time to provide your employees with the tools and information they need to be most effective in service delivery. The more you can enable your employees with training, the better they will perform on behalf of your customers.
Equip Your Team
Within hours of employees having to turn their homes into workspaces, pictures flooded social media of makeshift offices including laptops on ironing boards, windows being used as whiteboards, and books being used for computer stands. While this made for some good entertainment, the reality is that a makeshift office is not conducive to one doing their best work.
With this in mind, companies that are able, need to enable their employees to get what is needed to create the best workspace possible including:
- A computer monitor
- Phone headset for call clarity – especially for those who interact directly with clients
- A reliable and consistent phone connection
- High-speed internet with plenty of bandwidth
- Office chair
- Good lighting
While this may seem excessive, it will make a significant difference and all of the above can be acquired on-line for under GBP 300. This is all well worth the investment not to mention the ROI you will experience through the level of customer service your teams will be able to deliver.
Empower Your Team
Putting tight guardrails on employees on the front lines of customer interaction is not only limiting their ability to deliver great service, but will trickle down as a frustration to your customers. Click To Tweet
There is no script to follow for delivery of customer service in a digitally-driven, experience economy during a global pandemic. Therefore brands must empower employees to deliver customer service and do what they believe is in the best interest of their customers.
For years, the best brands in the world have understood this concept and have trusted the training they provided to their employees and believed they would make the right decisions on behalf of the customer. Now is the time that all other brands catch-up and do the same.
Putting tight guardrails on employees on the front lines of customer interaction is not only limiting their ability to deliver great service, but will trickle down as a frustration to your customers and the costs are far too high to allow that to happen.
What Will Your Customer Service History Be?
When we look back at this time in history and see case studies of brands that not only survived but came out the other side of this pandemic successfully, there is no doubt that it will be those organisations that focussed on what their customers needed and delivered incredible service that led to the best possible experience. This begins with your employees, and now is the time to invest.
Originally published Apr 14, 2020, updated Feb 09, 2021