The way that we work has changed. Over the last five years, the number of people working remotely has increased by 44%1. While shifting to a remote workforce offers a number of benefits for employers, including reduced cost for physical locations and the ability to hire in a much larger talent pool, managing a remote team can be challenging. Providing customers with excellent experiences depends on the engagement and accountability of your employees.
Research tells us that engaged employees impact the bottom line. In fact, according to Gallup, highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability2. So how can you make sure you are still delivering exceptional customer experiences with a remote team? Our team of Customer experience experts outline the practical steps that you can take with your remote team now.
Consider Level of Engagement
When shifting to a remote team, managers should first be asking if their employees are truly engaged. There are clear warning signs of a disengaged team member who is remote. They may be unresponsive, late with due dates, hard to get a hold of on the phone. Chances are, they’re having a difficult adjustment to the remote world, and work productivity is suffering. The risk of ignoring engagement? Poor performance that damages the customer experience, low employee retention, siloed functions, and the list goes on. Managers should consider the following remote work tips to alleviate some of the challenges, boost engagement and ensure consistently great customer experiences:
1. Create a daily check-in schedule. Set a time each day for each employee for a quick check-in. A quick, informal conversation about that person’s tasks for the day, roadblocks, or wins helps your team feel that they have a safe space to voice concerns or ask questions. If employees feel that their voice is heard, they are 4.6x more likely to feel empowered to do their best work3
2. Offer emotional support. A lot of the challenges in our current remote situation span far beyond executing work itself. Families are struggling to balance their home and work responsibilities and there is a large emotional strain on people. As a manager, being empathetic to your team member’s situations can go a long way. In fact, 96% of employees believe showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention3.
3. Provide opportunities for non-work talk. The question “how are you doing?” can go a long way. A virtual work happy hour or other time set aside to get the team together can help build relationships, even with physical distance. Employees can build trust with team members in these social settings. That trust leads to great collaboration, comfort asking for help, and more communication.
4. Vary your communication channels. As a manager, you should mix up the methods you use to reach out to your employees. There are hundreds of channels that you can use to communicate with your team. While email is useful, it is also insufficient if it is used as the only method to share information with your team. Video conferencing is great for seeing visual cues, holding collaborative sessions, and decreases feelings of loneliness. Speaking to someone 1 on 1 virtually feels more personal, and is more effective than email for personal conversations or sharing feedback.
Share Tools and Knowledge
When building a strong remote team, it is easy to forget how much information is shared in a physical office location. Especially with new employees who are remote, managers should spend extra attention to make sure they have the tools and knowledge they need to do their jobs. It is much easier to see an employee is struggling to understand their role when you are sitting next to them. Think about what information your team has access to, and ask yourself:
Can your team all speak to the challenges your customers face?
Do they know the value proposition of your product?
Does your team understand the company structure and who they contact for customer inquiries outside of their department?
Are there questions the team might be too embarrassed to ask?
What tools have they used in the past that they could recommend?
Consider the Customer Journey
Creating a better customer experience, regardless of employee role or department, starts with understanding the problems that those customers face. Without knowledge of every touch point, elevating customer experience is a challenge. Building your customer journey map is the best way to identify the interactions between your team and the customers you serve. As a collaborative team, start listing the different places you communicate with your customers, starting with the marketing and sales process, all the way through customer retention.
1. When does your team interact with your clients? Those touchpoints could include the initial sales call, then onboarding/implementation, support team interactions, to name a few.
2. What are the key touchpoints for your team? There are many different journeys that you could map, based on the products you sell and the personas you interact with. What you really need to think about are the impactful interactions.
3. Where are there interactions that you could improve? Discuss those key interactions with your team during your next virtual session and put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Focus your improvement efforts on those key touchpoints to boost the customer experience.
Journey mapping your customer experience can be challenging. SocialSurvey can help you map out the most impactful touch points across your personas and develop a plan to capture and analyze feedback across those key activities.
Collect Customer Experience (CX) Data
The best way to hear how your customers feel about each meaningful touchpoint is asking them! Without capturing the voice of your customer, you are left guessing what part of the experience is falling behind. Emotional reactions are almost always proportionally incorrect. Without data to show your team what needs to be improved, you are left guessing. Our instincts to control the outcomes are wrong most of the time. So rather than a mortgage broker asking the customer how the experience was after the process is completed and the house is purchased, they should be collecting the voice of the customer throughout the full experience.
How was the application process?
Did the customer feel satisfied after receiving their rates?
How was the communication process before the application?
Tap into your customer’s feelings and feedback during each impactful interaction to really understand what they are experiencing. Then use that information to coach and build engagement.
At Experience.com (Formerly SocialSurvey), we have developed an Experience Platform that integrates with your transactional systems to pinpoint those key interactions and automate customer feedback requests. We work with your team to identify where those interactions live on your customer journey, and send customized feedback requests tied to an individual employee.
Gamify Employee Performance
Collecting customer feedback on their experience with your team helps you measure performance, but you can also use that data to help motivate.
In fact, 90% of employees are more productive when they use gamification and 72% of people believe that gamification inspires them to work harder. This article further reports that using game-based motivation can raise engagement levels by 48%4.
Reward great customer experiences for your team and use poor experiences as opportunities for coaching. Scoreboard your team’s performance based on that customer feedback and share that dashboard to encourage healthy competition. For a remote team, gamifying performance can help drive accountability and motivate the group to work harder to deliver great customer experiences.
Maintaining a customer-experience focused remote team is not easy, but keeping a pulse on engagement, capturing, and analyzing customer data to drive results can all help your team stay motivated and accountable. Tools like Experience.com (Formerly SocialSurvey)’s platform can help you automate the Customer Experience feedback process and gamify your employee performance. Whether your team is in the office, or fully remote, customer experience should drive everything that you do.
1 “25 Key Remote Work Statistics for 2020.” Business 2 Community, 2020.
2 “The Right Culture: Not Just About Employee Satisfaction.” Gallup, 2020.
3 “10 Timely Statistics About The Connection Between Employee Engagement And Wellness.” Forbes Magazine, 2020.
4 “3 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement with Gamification.” Jostle Blog, 2020.