With most companies having transitioned to remote work, there’s a new normal for frontline service teams. In-person communication has been replaced by email, instant messaging, and video calls. Gone are the days of being able to turn to the person the next desk over and ask for support. For some, working from home may bring an added pressure to log longer hours and be “always on”—responding to messages and notifications late into the night. With family at home and other distractions around the house, it can be hard to maintain productivity. And, in the face of so much change, team members may feel lonely and have difficulty concentrating—and that’s to be expected.
In fact, according to the 2020 report on the “State of Remote Work,” based on a survey of over 3,500 remote workers across the globe, the top challenges team members who work from home face include issues with collaboration and communication, loneliness, burnout (not being able to unplug), and distractions:
We at Stella Connect discussed three pillars for successfully addressing these very problems—through communication, engagement, and rewards and recognition—in our recent webinar, 3 Tips to Maintain Service Quality with a Remote Workforce. With advice from Stella Connect’s Liz Keys, Technical Support Manager—who has been on the frontlines of CX as a remote employee for seven years; Justin Cruz, Senior Client Success Manager; and Jacob Weber, Director of Client Success, East Coast and Europe, here are actionable strategies team leaders can start implementing today.
7 Strategies for Improving Remote CX Team Communication
With entire teams working from home, possibly for the first time ever, gaps in communication are likely to be amplified. As managers, the goal should be to keep your team members informed—without feeling overwhelmed. To get started:
1. Create a communications process and best practices guide to make the most of the communication tools at your disposal. Set guidelines for each channel. For instance:
• Slack or instant messaging: Should be used for sharing information and quick tips with a lot of people and motivating the whole team throughout the day
• Email: Should be used for official communication and updating teams about new processes
• Video conferencing: Should be used when people need to talk face to face
2. Then adhere to the process, so that everyone is on the same page about how to communicate, when to communicate, and where.
3. Be aware of messaging fatigue and the pressure people may feel to be “always on.” Both of these can make it difficult to focus and prevent team members from diving deeply into their work.
4. To combat burnout, help CX employees set defined hours and stick to them, so they aren’t responding to messages late into the night.
5. Establish trust. Managers should provide team members autonomy and make it clear that they trust their employees to get the job done while working at home, so no one feels extra pressure to prove how hard they’re working now that they’re no longer in an office environment.
6. Be aware of different communication styles and address them. To get everyone on the same page, simplify updates into quick bullet points with clear one-line action items.
7. Provide explicit expectations for team priorities and measures of success. Make sure everyone is aware of how performance will be tracked.
Customer service leaders who are able to take these steps will ensure team members stay informed and not just survive this new normal, but thrive in it.
Next Steps: Helping Remote Customer Service Teams Thrive in a Remote Environment
If you’d like assistance helping your company adjust to this new environment, we can help. Talk to a member of our team to learn how.