Maximizing the performance of your customer-facing teams isn't easy—especially when everyone is working from home 🏡
But fret not...you’re not the only CX leader trying to navigate the “new normal” of remote teams!
Curious about what top eCommerce brands—like Nordstrom, Bespoke Post, and SkipTheDishes—are doing to ensure exceptional customer experiences in a remote world?
This post recaps the top three strategies from our recent webinar (co-sponsored with our friends at Lessonly):
1. Find new ways to delight your team members
2. Double down on communication and training
3. Focus on scaling with consistency
Let’s dive in!
You’ve probably noticed that your happiest employees tend to be your most engaged employees. Some people are happy-go-lucky no matter what, while others require a little more support to stay on the sunny side of life 🌤
Going out of your way to delight team members is a smart idea. But, how can you do that when you can’t physically interact with one another? Here are a couple ideas:
Send them a gift (or gifts). Bespoke Post knows a thing or two about the impact of a tasteful gift. In fact, they’re in the business of creating and sending personalized gift boxes that delight their members month after month. So, when the pandemic hit, Bespoke Post launched a free box program for team members—and the benefits have far outweighed the costs. “It’s a fun conversation starter, both internally and with customers,” said Brian Kaufman, Customer Experience Manager at Bespoke Post. “It also makes everybody feel important and very much part of the brand, which we have no doubt leads to a better customer experience.”
Make regular time for fun. When you’re in a shared physical workspace, it’s easy to take social interactions for granted. Coffee talk, lunch breaks, and the occasional “pop in” by a coworker are commonplace. All of that goes away in a remote setting, which is why it’s important for managers to be intentional about checking in with staff. And, that’s exactly what SkipTheDishes’ CS team does. “Frequently touching base with the team shows them we’re trying to create an office-like environment, even though we’re out of the office,” said Amine Haj Sassi, Restaurant Success Manager at SkipTheDishes.
Touchpoints shouldn’t just be about business. In fact, the team at SkipTheDishes finds time to play on-brand virtual games that keep people engaged—such as guessing team members’ favorite foods. “We’ve learned a lot of random facts about each other, which makes it easier to connect,” Haj Sassi said.
Fun and games can only go so far. At the end of the day, everyone has a job to do—which is why excellent communication and training are absolutely vital in a remote setting.
Here are some specific ways to improve your game:
Huddle up for the week ahead. Football teams huddle up before each play and discuss their strategy for moving the ball down the field. And, unless you’re Peyton Manning and capable of running a no-huddle offense, your customer-facing teams need to huddle up, too 🏈
“We have a Monday morning huddle and communicate updates to the team,” Haj Sassi said. “This helps us set the tone for the week, evaluate our workload, and get things started.” The team also huddles on Thursday morning to update their numbers, measure performance from the previous week, share news, and ask questions. This consistent and predictable approach to team communication has worked out well. “Our productivity has not been negatively impacted during the transition, and we’ve been able to adapt to it,” Haj Sassi said.
Nudge leaders toward a more inclusive environment. Employee isolation is a real problem that’s easily overlooked when every interaction is virtual. That’s why the team at Nordstrom took a proactive approach and began reminding leaders about creating inclusive environments for their teams. “We put together a weekly email that we send to all leaders in our organization,” said Mike Gray, Senior Program Manager, Leadership & Performance at Nordstrom. “It’s 300 words or less and includes one action you can take this week to be a better manager.”
Simple idea, but one that’s already having a big impact on Nordstrom’s teams.
Reevaluate your training program (and adjust if needed). Despite the pandemic, Bespoke Post’s success team has tripled in size—growing from 20 to 60 agents in a single year. To keep pace with this type of growth, the team needed a more robust and reliable training program. “We brought our training program in-house to hold people accountable and to get to know our agents better,” Kaufman said. “Knowing our agents and making them feel part of the team has been a huge step forward for us, which is something that I’m really excited about.”
Need some additional inspiration for beefing up your training program? Check out how Zola used QA data from MaestroQA to identify training gaps and elevate agent performance.
Huddles, internal newsletters, and training aren’t the only components for scaling your customer-facing teams. To scale with consistency, you need the right mix of informative documentation, QA processes, and personalized coaching.
Foster a self-help culture that’s supported by excellent documentation. Achieving 13x growth in knowledge base usage didn’t happen by chance at WP Engine. It required a cultural shift—especially for agents—that was made possible by better systems, reliable information, and, of course, QA.
Likewise, the team at SkipTheDishes invested considerable time and effort back into its documentation to empower agents. “However you want to consume knowledge, it’s there for you,” Haj Sassi said. “We want people to get into the habit of doing their own research and finding their own answers.”
Leverage a data-driven QA program to elevate coaching. How can you ensure that your growing (yet distributed) team of agents exhibit the right behaviors with customers? For the team at Bespoke Post, it all comes back to having a rock-solid QA program that supports ongoing coaching initiatives. “We moved forward with a new QA program, and I’m glad that we did because it allowed us to improve and grow together,” Kaufman said. “Now we’re at the point where we’re ready to scale with consistency, and everybody’s fully aligned and understands exactly where they fit in.”
Need more tips for elevating agent performance and improving the customer experience? Check out our blog for additional best practices.
Or, take a tour of MaestroQA and see how to leverage QA data for your eCommerce brand.