It’s no secret by now that the sudden shift to remote working has been a challenge. Any change in operations can bring its own set of obstacles, but what happens when the change is not only huge but unanticipated? We recently sat down with a group of CX leaders during our first Cyber CX virtual roundtable discussion to discuss the problems they’ve faced, how they’ve handled the transition, and their personal tips and tricks for weathering this particular storm.
We’re All in the Same Boat
It might be helpful to hear that all managers and team leaders are experiencing the same struggles while learning how to manage their newly remote teams. This is what some of the leaders we spoke to had to say about the problems they’ve been dealing with:
“I have managed remote teams before, but I’ve never been remote as the manager… My challenge has really been making sure that I’m engaging with my team the right way while I’m in my apartment.”
“Keeping a team kind of engaged and dialed in and getting information to them correctly has been a challenge… Some of our team members on the front lines are sort of more equipped to work from home than others. So some have better setups, some don’t have the internet… Trying to manage through the needs and the varying realities of people who are navigating their way through this.”
“I think that learning remotely has been really hard, and figuring out how to coach on some of the softer things. I feel like I took for granted things that happen in real time in person. Translating that into a virtual experience has been hard for me.”
Strategies and Tips for Managing Remotely
While there are plenty of challenges to overcome, there are also plenty of tips to share. The biggest themes we heard revolved around finding ways to keep agents engaged, leaning on different tools for constant communication, and the importance of finding the silver linings.
“In our nightly emails we’ll have a riddle or some sort of trivia question, and we give out little bonuses for the first person to answer and things like that. So we’re just trying to get creative so that we can maintain a level of engagement.”
“In my one-on-ones I’ve been doing a monthly check in. I was doing that before this, but it’s becoming even more important now because it’s just a reminder that we’re still holding them accountable.”
“I like in the moment coaching. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to wait a week to hear that I did something wrong or great.”
“We’ve actually been using zoom a lot to keep the culture of our company going. We decided to do a virtual trivia night. Everyone had a theme and dressed up, there were spirit awards, and it was really, really, really fun. So we’ve been pretty good at keeping spirits up and everything. But you do want to keep like zoom calls going and just checking in on your team.”
“I think it’s important to almost be more frequent with it because you wouldn’t see them obviously during the week.”
“We compensated with everyone being okay to get on a call when you need just to talk something out. Anytime something changes, like, ‘Hey, can we jump on a call real quick and talk about this?’ And that’s been perfect.”
“At the top of the day I’ll send an email like, ‘this is what I’m working on, this is going to affect this and this and this’. And at the end of the day I’ll put notes in. Like, ‘this is just what we got done today. Here are our numbers for the day’.”
It’s Not All Bad
“I’m definitely learning a lot about how to still be an impactful manager despite being behind a screen.”
“I think selfishly a benefit is it has been easier to carve out and protect time for me to get stuff done!”
“Despite everything else, people are enjoying the low request volume… And so as a manager, something I’ve been doing is really encouraging them to say, ‘Hey, let’s use this time when volume is low to get really good at the things that we needed to work on before, and build that muscle memory.’ That way when the volume does tick back up, you’re ready to go. And people seem to be pretty motivated by that.”
Empathy & Positivity
The discussion kept bringing the group back to one powerful takeaway: be empathetic and spread positivity. Remember to connect with your teams on a human level, check in with each other, and share the good stuff.
“I had one person who asked for a mental health day, like a break. Of course we said yes, and then we decided to be proactive about that. So we actually reached out to all of our team members and said, ‘we want to allow you guys to schedule a mental health day during this month’.”
“Monday morning updates. I send a one sheeter out, and a portion in there is COVID-19 resources, like a great playlist to listen to. Or things like the Headspace app, some good news, or a couple of articles on how to work from home. Resources to encourage people.”
“I have a Slack channel with just my small team, so I occasionally will drop in and ask them, ‘Hey, tell me how you’re feeling with a GIF’. And it just becomes this GIF party that’s fun for people and it helps people interact. I’ll check in individually too, you know, just Slack them on their own.”
“I know it sounds so silly, but making sure people go for a walk in the morning… I make sure that they’re getting dressed and then they go and attack work. That is such a big thing mentally to do.”
The Stella Connect team wants to be a resource to turn to for the CX community as we all adjust to the new normal. Check out our content on remote work, and keep an eye out for more to come!
- The Break Room: Remote Teams
- Webinar Recording: Remote CX: 3 Tips to Maintain Service Quality with a Remote Workforce
- No time to watch a webinar? Bookmark this easy infographic to refer to!
- Remote Customer Service: How to Successfully Manage Remote Teams