A few years back, nobody would have believed that employees will be working from home (WFH) to the extent that 61% of employees will want it to be the norm. But then, nobody also foresaw the COVID-19 pandemic that almost crumbled the world’s economy.
The situation was so critical and drastic measures had to be taken. Of course, before the pandemic, there were a handful of organizations who were experimenting with WFH, but it was not on a large scale.
Also, before the outbreak of coronavirus, digital transformation had been trending, but the pandemic gave it the deserved boost that was required to channel more effort into ensuring a better customer experience.
What is WFH?
WFH is an acronym for “work from home.” It’s used to describe work employees do remotely, instead of in the workspace or physical office. It was never the norm; traditionally, work was done in the physical office; employees commute to this special workspace, and at the end of each shift, employees retire to their different homes.
WFH has changed that, employees actually carry out their tasks at home and only telecommute with other employees using collaboration tools. While employees seem to be enjoying the new norm, the right question to ask is how efficient WFH is.
This to a very large extent depends on software capabilities an organization can deploy and the overall sentiments of customers. To ensure that customer experience is improved while implementing the WFH model, you need to enhance the following:
1. A good feedback mechanism
WFH has ensured that you may not have a physical office where customers can come and lay their complaints; moreover, your customer service team will now be operating from different locations. This must not in any way jeopardize their abilities to reach across the brand.
Their pain points must be known and promptly addressed. Even when you have decided to run a WFH model and others are doing so, it does not mean you don’t have competitors again.
This is even the time when your customers will get to know how efficient your customer service is. You still have the opportunity to access product review data from different sites as well as from your customers to find out how you are faring, and how the competition is maybe doing better than you.
Knowing that the reviews and feedback you’ll get will be in the unstructured format, you may need to outsource to capable agencies to ensure sentiment analysis is conducted for you. The pain points and feedback you get from your customers must be interpreted into positive, negative, and neutral sentiments for better comprehension.
Left with your customers alone, you may not need an agency to do your sentiment analysis, but you must consider the volume of data you must analyze if you want to understand what the competition is doing, and to have a good grasp of things, you need the expertise to handle large volumes of data especially now you are operating a WFH model.
2. World standard cybersecurity measures
The WFH model does not automatically stop cyberattacks and threats, rather you may even have an aggravated situation. The fact that 77.3% of Fortune 500 CIOs in a survey prioritized digital transformation in their 2021 budget, pushing cybersecurity down to second place, means that cybersecurity remains a matter of great concern.
Hackers know that you’ll now have to ferry more data and will want to capitalize on the situation to launch series of attacks. They will want to seek out porous routes of entry to have access to both customers’ and your employees’ data.
WFH requires you to ensure your customers’ personal information is safeguarded. If your customers feel that their security is threatened by conducting businesses with you, they will move to the competition, where they think their privacy and security are assured.
3. Equipping employees with the right hardware and software tools
Ensuring a better customer experience while your employees are on the WFH model means that they must be able to collaborate. For this to happen, they need to have the necessary hardware and software tools.
Employees must telecommute with customers and among themselves. Pain points raised by customers may require the input of two or more employees and without the necessary collaboration tools, you can never address such issues.
Employees can’t collaborate if they don’t communicate; you, therefore, must ensure that some tools they need for WFH will enhance communication. They can range from instant messaging to video conferencing tools.
An improved customer experience on the WFH model depends on how you can manage projects effectively, even when your employees are in different locations. Project management tools are critical components of a successful WFH model.
When you can’t coordinate effectively, you can never monitor task progress or keep track of objectives. You need tools for your team to create together, even from their different locations; most times, no single person starts and finishes a task, it may require a joint effort.
Tools you can use for these include Trello, Asana, Igloo, Dapulse, and Slack. You definitely need to train and possibly re-train employees to adapt to these new tools and technologies you must deploy. It may result in wishful thinking to believe that it will be easy for them to quickly grasp how these tools work.
When they encounter problems with the technologies and tools, they may have to resort to their own ways of trying to fix the problems. Where this does not work, the frustration and anger may be transferred to customers.
Dissatisfied customers do not want to know whether you are working from home or the office; they have options and can quickly churn your products. The world has become a global village; customers can now access products from anywhere in the world.
You must ensure that your employees have the right tools to conduct their tasks. Apart from their tools, you must endeavor to instill in them the need for a new digital culture; every employee you onboard has to adopt the organization’s culture, and sudden changes such as WFH may jolt employees.
WFH comes with some elements of stress; where necessary, measures must be put in place to mitigate whatever stress employees may go through while on the WFH model. Transfer of aggression must be outrightly discouraged among your employees.