Over twelve months after the first lockdown, most businesses have accepted that remote working will be a part of their operations for the foreseeable future. Modelling by McKinsey suggests that even post-pandemic, at least 20% of the workforce could continue to work remotely three to five days a week without changes to productivity and effectiveness. And executives agree, with 38% of those surveyed expecting to operate a hybrid home-office model where employees work two or more days a week away from the office.
However, regardless of staff location, customers still demand exceptional service. Yet, many organisations are still grappling with offering a seamless customer service experience with a remote workforce. In response to this challenge, Mary Anne Ghobrial, CX Analyst, Producer and Project Manager for the International Quality and Productivity Center (IQPC) and Premier Contact Point’s CEO Sol Rabinowicz, authored the new What You Need to Succeed in a ‘Work from Home’ Future.
Key takeaways from What You Need to Succeed in a ‘Work from Home’ Future report
Released for the Customer Contact Week (CCW) Disrupt event in February 2021, the report covers four key areas that will help organisations maintain customer service levels while their staff work from home.
Internal engagement and staff well-being
While working from home has proven to improve retention rates and productivity, it can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection from co-workers. Fortunately, there are steps organisations can take to protect the mental health and wellbeing of their staff.
Discussions at the 2021 Customer Contact Week Disrupt conference revealed that the contact centres that reported the highest levels of staff engagement were those who scheduled regular health checks with remote staff.
Managers can also:
- Offer daily catch-ups with staff to ensure they have what they need to succeed.
- Facilitate team conversations via tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams to maintain bonds and morale.
- Provide staff with the correct remote tools such as computers and cloud-based software.
- Ensure that team leaders have live monitoring and business insight tools to monitor staff well-being and performance.
- Say thank you and acknowledge the hard work staff are doing while working in unique circumstances.
- Provide online training to reflect changes in customer sentiment and operational procedures. (Premier Contact Point has provided a range of video tutorials that cover most concerns organisations have when staff work from home.)
A seamless, easy-to-navigate interface
The cloud-based technology deployed should offer:
- Seamless interfaces that are easy to use, configurable and allow staff to access the information they need quickly and easily. This minimises staff training times and call wait times.
- High levels of data privacy and security. Ideally, customer contact software should be integrated with a self-service portal, CRM or ERP and form a closed loop so that data stays protected.
Tools to navigate changes in call volumes
The business disruption caused by the pandemic has seen unprecedented call volumes and call wait times. Organisations can handle changes in call volumes and unexpected delays by:
- Increasing the ways customers can self-serve, from lodging claims to rescheduling flights.
- Offering a webchat service to give customers another channel to talk to staff.
- Increasing automated call routing via IVR and mobility services so customers reach to the correct department the first time.
- Having a continually updated business continuity plan that includes geographic redundancy across technology and telecommunications.
- Monitoring peaks and troughs across all platforms and scheduling staff accordingly to manage the volume of calls adequately.
Technology to provide optimal customer experiences
In a shocking statistic from Taylor Research, over 60% of contact centre staff throughout the world confessed that in 2020 they didn’t have the right technology to deliver a great customer experience while working remotely.
This can be remedied by:
- Providing cloud-based contact centre solution to keep data in one place and enable staff to log in wherever and whenever they need to.
- Ensuring internal systems have seamless access, e.g., accessing the CRM and knowledge-based system via the main cloud-based contact centre solution.
- Enabling open communication between managers and leaders and their teams and between team members.
- Optimising workforce scheduling so sufficient staff are available across live chat, phones and self-service should escalation to a staff member be required.
- Creating goals and targets – they might change constantly, but they are still an essential tool for tracking progress and motivation.
Organisations have faced significant change recently, but with the right technology in place and an understanding of what staff need to succeed, they can maintain high levels of customer service whatever the future holds.
To view the full report, download your copy of What You Need to Succeed in a ‘Work from Home’ Future.