Customer care is on the minds of managers at all levels these days, how can you help your customers as they go through the changes we are facing in the world today? Customer Care been tabbed as one of the last realms where companies can truly set themselves apart, and in a world with a remote work force it is important to keep up with the demands and quality of customer care.
Employee engagement is another buzzword tossed around in business circles these days. Statistics show engaged employees are more productive, which translates into more profit for the company.
Is there crossover between these two concepts? Can workplace engagement actually influence customer care? How do you keep agents engaged while working from home?
What Is Engagement?
Most people are familiar with the disengaged employee. This person isn’t gung-ho about getting to work in the morning. They might be the first person to leave in the evening. Maybe they call in sick frequently or take long breaks. When they are around, they just aren’t that productive. They tend not to participate, whether in social team-building exercises or meetings.
The engaged employee, on the other hand, is productive. They get things done. They’re usually in the office, and they may even start early or end late. More importantly, they’re ready to contribute to the workplace. They might mentor their peers, make suggestions during meetings, or even spearhead a new initiative.
Why Does It Matter?
Engaged employees are, on average, more productive than their disengaged peers. They contribute more to the company. They bring energy and enthusiasm to the workplace. They’re invested in the company’s performance, so they contribute their ideas, their energy, and their work ethic.
They’re also less likely to leave the company, which minimizes turnover costs. In short, engaged employees boost your productivity and profitability. Disengaged employees end up costing you. Work-from-home employees are at an even higher risk for disengagement as they are not on-site and distractions in the home are plentiful.
Engaging with Customer Care
Most company executives and business owners today realize the importance of delivering great customer care. Customers who aren’t satisfied with how you interact with them will take their business elsewhere.
Employee engagement has a direct influence on customer care. If your employees aren’t engaged, they’re not invested in the company outcome. If they don’t care what happens to your company, they don’t have much incentive to deliver great customer care and ensure customers stay with you.
Engaged employees, on the other hand, are invested in the outcome of any interaction with a customer. Not only do they want the customers to stay with your company, they often want the customer to walk away satisfied.
How Can You Get Engaged Customer Care?
This is all great in theory. In practice, it’s fairly difficult to get customer care employees engaged, on-site or remotely.
The issue is twofold. First, the employees must be engaged with your company. They need to be convinced your corporate values align with theirs. They also need to be fairly happy in their positions. A positive work environment, competitive salaries, benefits, flexible time, and other “perks” all contribute. A sense of being valued is also key.
Even if you have all the right ingredients for employee engagement, you may find working in customer care quickly disengages employees. They may be disheartened by angry customers - especially as many customers are under excess stress and anxiety right now.
There are a few things you can do to help. First, you can make sure your employees receive great training for handling upset customers. Make sure your employees know how valued their work is through recognition and awards. You can also be sure they’re using the latest technology to deliver faster service, while offing your customers with multiple channels to connect to your agents.
You should also emphasize teamwork to your employees in customer care, especially when dealing with virtual or remote teams. When they work together to quickly resolve a customer complaint or to ensure follow-ups are conducted, they’re engaging with each other to resolve issues. You might even ask them to think of the customer as a kind of “team member” too.
Teamwork keeps the workplace environment positive and gives everyone a common goal. It makes your employees feel like they’re part of something bigger, with the aim of keeping your customers happy. Provide your teams with communication tools that will allow them to video-conferencing and collaboration, seeing their teammates faces will help build relationships.
When your employees believe you’re doing great work, they’ll want your customers to believe in the company too. As a result, they’ll go to greater lengths to deliver better customer care.