Recently, I was on a panel hosted by Brian Cantor, CCW Digital principal analyst. The panel included Alexey Aylarov, VoxImplant CEO and cofounder, and Jordan Spiers, Vonage director of strategic partner marketing. We were there to speak about roadmaps for efficiently achieving a work from home (WFH) model. Here are a few takeaways.
The pandemic brought even the strongest business to its knees, at least momentarily. But successful companies responded by shifting to WFH. At 7.ai, we rethought and reinvented our world of work as well. The WFH transition succeeded, across the board, where employees embraced a sense of urgency and fixed things as they went. It took a unique combination of company culture, coordinated activities, and a one-for-all attitude.
Of course, challenges remain: Difficulty getting the right devices, poor connectivity, security restrictions, infrastructure issues, and environmental factors (for example, children and pets), which led to a lot of funny twitter posts and memes but are actually quite a problem.
In our panel discussion, we drew on our experiences and, with the likely WFH trends firmly in mind, we focused on ways companies can not only satisfy but also empower their employees.
It’s always been difficult to know what it takes to motivate agents. With WFH drastically remaking the agent experience, it is important to keep them encouraged. Aid management coaching with analytics tools that provide feedback for your teams and help them improve their game. Gamification creates that “being in office” feeling with virtual side contests, rewards, and more. Create really robust and integrated internal communication platforms along with cool collaboration tools to encourage camaraderie and make everyone feel part of a bigger whole.
CX standards are going to increase as demand volumes rise and consumers become less willing to cut companies a break. AI and personalization are now critical; companies that predict and understand customer intent, and address it with sophistication, will succeed. Provide agents with a 360-degree knowledgebase to flush out customer intent, and respond to it, as quickly as possible. But there will always be a human element to it and great training will ensure agents adapt to changing customer behaviors. Get them in the game with training and through things like daily morning messages at frequent touchpoints, virtual welcome parties structured for different levels in the organization, and various kinds of energizers.
The idea is that AI handles the simple tasks while agents handle complex ones. But the complex tasks are harder than ever. If we properly automate the first line of customer service, only the reasonable requests will be forwarded to live agents. Automation and intelligent services, if done today, also make onboarding easier when hiring talent is hard.
Technical areas to consider for great work force management include scheduling tools that send schedule reminders; leave planner tools, advance notifications on leave balances, and such; mobile-based self-service tools; AI-based alerts to supervisors and leaders for better remote management; and real-time ticker boards on schedule notification as well as text-based alerts.
All it takes is one fiasco to wipe out all your previous efforts and gains. Make sure all your security protocols are in place and map them into digital frameworks that deliver the right kind of operational excellence for a satisfied customer.
Provide agents with right tools, processes, management support, and even the right chairs. The easier we make it for agents, the more that gest reflected in the customer experience.
It’s a brave new work-from-home world!