Your company may offer superior products or amazing services, but that’s no longer enough for the average consumer.
If you don’t have considerate, resourceful customer care teams in place, your business stands to suffer in a big way. Check out these revealing statistics from Salesforce.com’s 2022 State of The Connected Customer report:
- 71% of survey respondents say they’ve made a purchase based solely on the quality of a company’s customer service
- 50% would switch to a competitor after a single negative service experience
- 78% say they would forgive a company’s blunder if the service was excellent
Amid a perfect storm of challenges, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Over the past two years, business leaders have had to quickly adapt their systems and ways of working to accommodate the shift to working from home. During that time, customer care employees have become harder to retain and nearly half of service managers experienced increased attrition in 2021, leading to performance unpredictability. Add rising consumer expectations and decades-high inflation to the mix and it’s easy to see why customer care leaders are feeling the pressure.
Here are five strategies to support your remote and hybrid teams, bolstering their performance and enhancing the customer experience at a time when service is paramount.
Create mechanisms that mirror in-person experiences.
Remember those team huddles you used to have when everyone was on-site together? You can and should still have them. They’re important for creating a sense of continuity, as well as for sharing important information and nurturing camaraderie. You might kick off each shift with a video call or use group chat to go over urgent announcements. The goal is to deliver structure and familiarity in a way that’s suited for remote and hybrid environments.
Provide guidance on communication channels.
Should your service staff send a detailed e-mail every time they require management involvement to resolve an issue? Will a brief call suffice? If you don’t clarify communication issues like these, you’ll wind up with inconsistent approaches that don’t contribute to great experiences for your employees or your customers. Have a team discussion about the situations they typically encounter and then identify what processes and digital channels should be used to yield the best outcomes. Review sample scenarios of when these channels should be used and how the issue should be escalated, if necessary.
Set aside ample time for check-ins.
Service managers are often stretched thin but connecting with team members is essential. Working in a remote or hybrid landscape requires some forethought about how to balance standing meetings and unexpected chats. If you have regular one-on-ones with each representative, consider adding a few slots to your calendar each week for unforeseen situations or emergencies that require immediate attention. These blocks of time can be used as needed and as you see fit.
Find ways to recognize a job well done.
When your remote or hybrid team delivers amazing customer support, it’s critical that you find ways to acknowledge their fine work. Be sure to recognize both individual and team performance. In addition to recognizing excellence during team calls, go the extra mile to show your appreciation with personalized thank you notes and creative incentives. Endless low-cost options exist so take time to consider what your team members might prefer—gift cards to favorite restaurants, clothing stores, or movie theatres, for example, are great choices.
Create social opportunities to support culture and morale.
Like most occupations, customer service professionals relish the relationships they form with their coworkers in the office. There’s no reason those relationships can’t grow in a remote or hybrid work setting. Take time during group calls to encourage interaction and foster communication. Ask about everyone’s weekend plans, their reaction to a recent sporting event, or if they’ve seen the latest blockbuster movie. Encourage people to share photos of their children, pets, vacations, or favorite pastimes. Host virtual lunches and happy hours. The goal is to get your team members talking, interacting, and supporting one another.
The ability to provide remarkable service has no boundaries, thanks to advancements in technology. If your customer care group is adopting a remote and/or hybrid platform, it must be finely tuned so the customer experience remains seamless and positive. Whether onsite or remote, when customer service is executed with finesse, it has the power to improve employee job satisfaction, boost consumer loyalty, and increase revenues.
If you’re seeking more information about how to deliver best-in-class customer care in the remote or hybrid workplace, The HR Team has the valuable guidance and seasoned insights you need. Please contact our knowledgeable professionals to learn more.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.