With so many organizations going remote in such a short amount of time, we know how difficult it can be to acclimate your teams to the new normal. With no end in sight any time soon, we thought it would be good to showcase a great example of our client, sweetgreen and how they accomplished successfully managing a distributed CX team.
Before we get into the how’s and the what’s, it’s important to start at the beginning. Despite what the topic suggests, sweetgreen created their hybrid team, not because of COVID19, but as a result of moving their main offices to the West Coast while most of their stores were on the East Coast.
They realized that they needed to scale their team to support East Coast hours if they wanted to keep the integrity of their customer experiences – especially dealing with customers who are hungry for their salads. Eventually, they decided that the best option would be to create a remote team and partner with NexRep, their outsource provider.
Initially, there were some minor challenges like how to maintain their white-glove premium service as well as back and forth communication with both teams, but with diligent tweaks, these challenges were eventually ironed out. Here are some things that sweetgreen did to make their remote team as happy and effective as possible:
Phone calls vs. Slack
It’s easy to fall into the “Slack for everything” routine but when it comes to giving feedback, they encourage video or phone calls over Slack. Tone plays a major role in how humans perceive positive or negative feedback, and if this is done over Slack, there’s a higher chance that the tone of the message won’t be conveyed properly and could be taken out of context.
On this note, it’s important to mention that sweetgreen also provides a space for their employees to talk about non-work related things via Slack. This helps build a feeling of camaraderie that’s hard to find in a remote workspace.
Preserve your culture
Were you a company that reveled in company outings and impromptu employee happy-hours? This doesn’t have to change just because the team is remote now. Everything that you used to do before trading conference room meetings for living room meetings can still be done via Zoom. Sweetgreen still has their people get together on a regular basis for non-work related activities.
Whether it’s Zoom happy hours or team lunches, preserving your company culture plays a major role in the morale of your employees, especially now when this year has been challenging for so many.
Positive feedback matters
One of the most important aspects of managing a remote team is knowing how to keep them motivated, especially after a tough day. Using Stella Connect, sweetgreen has managed to not only keep their agents motivated but provide positive real-time feedback at the same time. Laney Keeshin, Manager of Learning and Development at sweetgreen says,
Many leaders may not realize just how crucial this is because maybe your team doesn’t vocalize everywhere they are struggling. Seeing that real-time feedback not only boosts your team’s confidence but also leads to improved CSAT scores.
Sweetgreen found that when checking in on their employees’ mental health regularly, their team’s productivity soared. This means asking “On a scale of 1-5, how are you doing at this moment?” the employee can then say how they’re honestly feeling, and if it isn’t great, then you as their leader can help them come up with healthy ways to get their heart check back up.
Caring about your team members while you are all working from home does more than increase output and improve the quality of your customer service, it also tells your team that you care enough to ask about them. In today’s day and age, when the world feels like it’s somersaulted onto its head, we could all use a little more heart-checking.
What can we learn from sweetgreen?
Managing a completely or hybrid remote team is more than just possible, it can be successful. With the right tools in place for real-time feedback, and seamless communication no matter where on the globe your team is, you can take a daunting task like building a work-from-home team, and turn it into a success.
If you want to learn more about sweetgreen and how they are using Stella to maximize their remote employee experiences, contact us for a free demo today!