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From the Boardroom to the Living Room: Navigating the Shift to At-Home Customer Support

  


As the saying goes, “we’re all in this together” - and this is certainly true at TELUS International where we recently transitioned from a primarily onsite customer experience and IT provider to mobilizing over 28,000 of our frontline agents to support our customers, and likewise their end-customers, via a work-at-home model.

From frontline agents to executives, in almost every industry, brands have been forced to rethink their systems and processes in an effort to maintain business continuity. While many have quickly deployed a work-at-home solution for their teams, this rapid shift to remote work also presents new needs and challenges that may impact brands and serve as a big transition for some employees, ultimately affecting engagement and an organization’s culture.

Here are some ways that brands can keep their teams engaged and productive during times of change.

Let’s get digital: create efficiencies for better CX

When it comes to helping your team make a seamless transition from office to home, stability and consistency are key and so is equipping them with the right tools and solutions to enable productivity. To successfully navigate this shift, brands must take into consideration what’s needed to enable, support and engage its workforce from both a technology and people services perspective. Not all digital solutions are made equal.

TELUS International’s Work Anywhere solution leverages a pure-cloud, omnichannel platform combined with an optional remote virtual desktop interface to enable team members to access all of the tools and support they would normally have in a contact center environment. They can access, collaborate on and share centralized information easily and securely, anywhere and anytime.

This includes a full suite of Work Anywhere add-on solutions to support brands’ digital recruiting, remote coaching, remote learning, and remote workforce management needs, thereby ensuring their teams are fully supported from end-to-end.

Self-serve options for internal support

With a remote workforce, it makes even more sense to help employees help themselves. One way to do this is via the integration of a Conversational Bot that can help fill in the gaps to better meet employee demands. In particular, IT departments may find it helpful to have a bot support their teams as they may start receiving repetitive questions from team members as they transition to working remotely. General inquiries such as technology set-up or login issues can often be resolved with a simple response sourced from a backend knowledge base.

A Conversational Bot can field through these requests, automate responses and assist employees in an efficient and timely manner, helping to alleviate the workload for these support teams. As employees are empowered to be more self-sufficient, it also frees up time for IT teams to focus on supporting those team members with more complex requests, ultimately enabling them to deliver better and more efficient service experiences to their colleagues.

Socially connected while physically distant

With a dispersed workforce and especially in times of uncertainty, making a commitment to regularly check-in and engage with your teams is key. Particularly with employees that are used to interacting with their colleagues on a daily basis, their new siloed work-at-home environment may cause them to feel disconnected and disengaged. As such, leveraging technology like videoconferencing can help tremendously as it enables team members to maintain regular face-to-face interactions (albeit virtually).

Encouraging team members to participate in fun virtual activities can also help boost engagement during challenging times. At TELUS International, the HR team recently organized a Spring Spirit Week encouraging team members to dress up in various themed outfits each day for a week. Enabling social touchpoints through an employee app or enterprise social network is another way for employees to connect, share updates and give peer to peer recognition. Enterprise social platforms like TELUS International’s Cosmos allows a dispersed workforce to socialize with each other regardless of location while enabling brands to keep their team members informed on the latest developments, activities, events and news.

Mind your Ps and Qs

Helping team members feel a sense of community and belonging is important to any corporate culture and even more so when your team is dispersed. Engaged and inspired team members are your best brand ambassadors and are ready to own the CX journey from end to end. Finding ways to recognize your employees can be the difference between leading a team that’s thriving or one that’s just surviving. It can be as simple as sending a note and virtual gift card to say thank you, or it can be more elaborate like arranging Uber Eats to deliver a (contactless) treat to recognize a job well done. A show of appreciation goes a long way in elevating employee engagement.

Not surprisingly, feeling connected, supported and appreciated are key drivers for employee engagement. A recent article by Smarp, an organization specializing in employee engagement and advocacy solutions, highlighted that brands with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable and see 41% lower absenteeism. The same article shared that in a major long-term study, companies that had the best corporate cultures and that highly appreciated their employees and customers grew 682% in revenue over an 11 year period, compared to only 166% revenue growth in companies without a strong company culture.

The Culture Value Chain at TELUS International highlights similar results as it serves as the foundation for its people-first approach and a proven formula that a strong corporate culture and employee engagement equate to the ability to innovate and achieve higher customer satisfaction.

The success of migrating employees from a traditional office setting to a work-at-home environment is dependent on a number of factors. Ensuring team members feel connected, enabled and engaged with the right solution that integrates people, processes and technology will go a long way in keeping your teams happy while promoting continuity in your business and CX operations.


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