Frontline was certainly never a term we associated with customer service reps, supermarket staff or other workers providing essential services, but the pandemic has changed that.
Customer service has changed dramatically, and no more so than for those who work for call centres. Usually based in bustling offices, how do we ensure our frontline customer service representatives aren't demotivated when working from home?
Customer service has always been key to business success. The pandemic has meant that frontline customer service representatives will have to deal with a higher number of calls and enquires than pre-COVID, many of these are more complex in their nature and with fewer staff to deal with these call levels it can quickly become a stressful environment for employees.
Combined with the fact many call centre workers are now working from home in order to comply with social distancing guidelines, thus creating new challenges and barriers for both employee and employer to overcome.
In the face of these new challenges it's essential that employers consider how to keep their staff motivated and providing exceptional customer service. Customers remain loyal to the brands and people that supported them, particularly in times of crisis.
If you've ever visited a call centre you'll know they are busy, energetic environments, a stark contrast to what working from home will be like for most people and one that staff may struggle to adjust to. Whilst workers in the office may feel under added pressure it's important that a sense of culture and being part of a team remains, particularly when staff will be communicating with one another less frequently.
Without the usual social interactions of the office, it can be hard for employees working from home, but this is where technology such as Microsoft Teams offers a solution. Arranging online activities like a quiz or team catch-ups can mean employees still feel part of a team.
Another great way to keep teams feeling connected when working remotely is to schedule in more team meeting to ensure workers are still getting "face time", this is where platforms that allow video calls and conferencing really come into their own. Whilst it's no substitute for real one-on-one human interaction it's more inclusive than a phone call or email, keeping employees feeling part of a team.
Team meetings for the whole company are also an excellent way to keep your workforce connected. A scheduled company-wide meeting that keeps employees up to date with performance and celebrates success is great for too for keeping employees engaged.
Understandably, team members that are needed in the office may be feeling more stress than their remote colleagues. It's important that employers are sympathetic to these feelings and small gestures such as managers working closely with their teams can make a big difference.
Keeping a good company culture and happy staff is vital to both employee and customer satisfaction and will reflect in performance when the pandemic ends. Whether staff are working remotely or required in the office there are many ways to ensure staff feel part of a team and continue to be motivated.
Incentives and Rewards
Customer services representatives are often the first touchpoint for customers contacting a business and are responsible for ensuring the customer receives a good experience. Rewards and incentives for staff can be a great way to do this, whether it's an Amazon gift card or a bottle of wine a little can go a long way. Incentives and rewards can easily be KPI based and with integrated CRM systems this is easily manageable.
Creating a positive work environment and ensuring staff feel valued during this challenging time is the key to keeping staff happy and motivated.
Call centre staff will be under an increased amount of pressure during this time and it is essential that business recognise and monitor the ever-changing situation to maintain customer service levels.
If businesses can keep their unsung heroes motivated to provide excellent customer service, they can not only survive in this turbulent environment but thrive.