Let’s face it: remote work is here to stay. According to a 2019 study, remote workers are 22% happier in their jobs than their colleagues who never work remotely. The autonomy, flexibility, and inherent ownership that comes with remote work can be incredibly empowering to employees.
But with that in mind, it’s important to remember that remote work isn’t for everyone. While some of your agents may be loving the newfound flexibility, it’s more likely than not that some of them are struggling with working from home.
As your organization continues to adapt to the changing landscape of the world and your customer’s needs, you need to be sure you’re also adapting to the needs of your team. After all, your CX team is the face of your brand to customers.
Making sure your business is helping them thrive while working remotely is critical to ensuring they can continue to deliver remarkable customer service while staying engaged, fulfilled, and happy in their role.In a recent webinar, Remote is the New Normal: How to Continue to Adapt, we sat down with Customer Service leaders from Sweetgreen and Daily Harvest to uncover 4 key tips and insights for helping your team adapt and thrive in a fully remote work environment.
1. Use Technology to Your Advantage
The biggest challenge of working remotely can also be your biggest opportunity. With tools like Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, old fashioned email, and so many more, there are a variety of different avenues for you and your team to communicate. But without face-to-face interaction and “water cooler talk” in the office, employees can sometimes feel cut off from their peers.
To combat this, Joe Gilgoff, Vice President of Customer Care at Daily Harvest, recommends encouraging your team to share ideas, banter, and post daily check-ins on Slack (or your tool of choice) just like they normally would in the office. Make sure there’s a dedicated space for work-related issues or questions, of course, but be sure to create spaces and channels that enable them to mingle with colleagues and continue to foster a sense of community.
At Sweetgreen, Director of Customer Experience Jen Duguay utilizes calendar holds for “office hours” every Friday. During these blocks, team members are encouraged (but not required!) to join a virtual meeting room to check in on ongoing projects, talk through any new issues that have come up with customers, or to simply say hi and have a one-on-one conversation.
This “open door” policy means that the pressure of a formalized calendar meeting is gone, and instead replaced with the familiarity of a casual conversation that feels much more organic.
2. Keep Communication Open & Human
From a leadership perspective, managing a remote team can be hard.
On one hand, you want to make sure your team is staying on top of incoming inquiries, answering questions thoroughly, and representing your brand well in each customer interaction. At the same time, you don’t want to micromanage each agent or make them feel like you don’t trust them to get their work done outside of the office.
To keep a pulse on how her team is feeling and uncover where her focus should be, Duguay asks her team to participate in daily “heart checks,” where each agent is asked to share, on a scale of 1 to 5, how they’re feeling about work.
If agents give themselves a high score, she knows they are feeling good about themselves, their current situation, and their workload. If agents give themselves a lower score, however, it’s a clear cue to Duguay that they might be having a hard time and need more support from her and the team.
By implementing an open and honest channel for feedback, you will not only become a better manager to your agents, but will also help them be better team members to each other.
Looking for real-time feedback and visibility into the performance of your front line team? Test drive Stella Connect today.
3. Tap Into Your Team’s Hidden Talents
As the Customer Service team, your employees are at the heart of your company. They’re experts in empathy, problem solving, and understanding the needs and goals of your customers. But they’re also people with passions outside of work.
When Gilgoff discovered that one of his agents was a certified meditation instructor, he encouraged her to start hosting virtual guided meditation sessions for their team, which were so popular they were then opened up for anyone in the company to join. These sessions were not only a way to help participants relax, but also as a means of connecting employees from different teams and building a community around a common interest.
Maybe one of your agents is a yoga instructor, who can use their talents to keep members of the company moving. Or maybe a group of employees are interested in learning a new instrument that your agent has been playing for years. Whatever the case may be, giving your team the opportunity to bring those hidden talents to work will not only bring them closer together, but will also help them feel like they can bring their whole selves to work in a meaningful way.
4. Recognize and Reward Your Frontline Team
When you’re in the office, it’s likely that your team has processes in place for showcasing recognition of team members. Whether it’s an in-person shout out during a meeting, or a casual debrief on a particularly tough call over lunch, these are invaluable moments that shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle of the transition to remote work.
Without being in the office to share stories, learnings, and lessons, it can be tough to make sure your employees are still being recognized for their hard work. But taking time to showcase their wins and highlight the impact they’re having on improving the experiences of your customers is pivotal for your team, as well as the entire organization.
With Stella Connect, you have the ability to recognize and reward your agents for a job well done.
Stella Connect gives you the visibility into how each agent is performing, making it easy to highlight success stories and share the positive feedback your agents get for everyone to see. When agents feel like their work is valued and appreciated by the business, they are more incentivized to keep pushing themselves to deliver great experiences for your customers.
Be proactive in showing recognition when a team member receives a positive review, give shout outs after navigating an especially difficult customer call, and use the data from past calls to identify trends and coaching opportunities that will make your agents even better at their jobs.
As more and more businesses continue down the path of working fully remote, it’s important to keep the health and happiness of your employees top of mind. Your company culture isn’t just inside the four walls of your office space – it’s at the core of each interaction with your team members, peers, and customers. By focusing on helping your agents adapt and thrive in a remote environment, you guarantee a delightful customer experience in each of their calls.
For even more tips on adapting to remote work, check out the full webinar, Remote is the New Normal: How to Continue to Adapt.