Customer Experience News & Trends

5 ways to encourage remote CX employees

Supporting customers is challenging work. Doing it from home adds another taxing layer. Here’s help to support and encourage remote employees. 

Front-line customer experience employees – who help over the phone, in email, online and through social media – still do a great job from home. But most don’t have the manager’s personal support, extensive resources and camaraderie that comes with working together.

And that can take a toll on morale, engagement and productivity.

“High fives and kudos around the water cooler just don’t work right now,” says Jeff Cates, CEO of Achievers, an employee engagement platform provider. “Now we need to recognize the environment they have to be in.”

Customer experience leaders can engage and encourage employees working from home with these five strategies:

1. Increase flexibility

“Rethink how things get done,” Cates says. “Flexibility works better and can be OK for you and employees. Consider measuring output, not all input.”

Front-line customer service and support employees probably need to be available to help customers at exact times. But you might offer – and encourage – flexibility for the behind-the-scenes work.

If you can ease some stress with more flexibility as they juggle home and family responsibilities you can keep employees motivated.

2. Make them comfortable, efficient

Customer-facing employees face new frustrations when they’re sent home to work: less boss and colleague support, limited infrastructure, ergonomic compromises and weaker internet connections, to name a few.

Those kinks must be worked out – or employee frustration will rise and morale will drop.

No matter how long your customer support employees will be home, they need to be comfortable while working and as well equipped as they were on-site. It may take time, but it’s vital to get everyone up to those levels.

3. Reward appropriately

Virtual recognition and awards that fit employees’ work and lives now are a must to keep them motivated.

For instance, you might set up a community recognition board in the communication app (such as Slack or Workplace from Facebook) where managers and employees can give shout-outs on great work, team efforts, and personal or professional accomplishments.

As far as rewards, try gift cards (real or virtual) for food delivery or favorite online purchasing points.

4. Coach regularly and virtually

Employees working from home may be out of sight, but their work should still be in focus. Use existing platforms or find new ones to regularly monitor their performance, and most importantly, praise what’s going well. Also look for improvement areas and ways to train.

For instance, you might review a few chat transcripts each day. Or listen to live calls. Schedule at least one weekly one-on-one video call to talk about their challenges, opportunities for improvement and outstanding performance.

5. Encourage collaboration

Employees might start to feel isolated, miss out on best practices and lose interest in their work if they don’t collaborate often when working from home.

Schedule regular virtual meetings where groups can gather – and turn on their cameras to see each other – to hear new information, share best practices and ask each other questions.

Add a social element, too, Cates suggests. Ask them to get involved in organizing more relaxed, fun virtual meetings – such as music or company trivia.

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