This is my third and final article on the series that has looked at how working from home benefits businesses. The previous articles looked at the benefits to employees and the businesses themselves. This article will identify various ways that customers benefit when businesses have personnel that work from home.
The feedback from the first two articles in the series has been quite positive and I am glad to know the posts have been helpful. However, if you are still skeptical and just wanting to return to some state of normalcy, and begin having employees return to an office, please read on as delighting our customers should be the top priority for any business, and the ability to do so can improve with employees who work from home.
Customers Will Interact With the Best Talent
One of the beliefs I have always held when it comes to hiring personnel is to find the best talent, regardless of their geographical location.
When you are confined to searching for talent that is within a certain radius of an office, your talent pool immediately shrinks. This is not to say you will not be able to find a suitable candidate, but your chances of finding the best candidate grows exponentially when you can support a remote employee.
Having the most skilled, experienced, and talented workforce is one of the ways that businesses can ensure they are delivering an exceptional customer experience. When they have a larger pool of prospective candidates to choose from, the likelihood of doing so will increase, which is good news for customers.
SYKES has taken this approach to heart and, as detailed in a recent online article, has been able to find exceptional talent to support their growing business and the demand of their customers.
A Faster Response Time to Customer Demand
I once worked with a client that had seasonal demand for their product. This seasonality required them to increase their customer service staff twice during the year. This cycle kept them in a virtual build-up/tear-down mode each year as they insisted on having their customer support staff on-site to meet the demand.
This would not be the case with a work-from-home customer support staff. By enabling customer service agents to work from home, organisations can be more agile and nimble in responding to specific events or seasons that will mandate extra attention be given to customers.
In the experience economy in which we live, ensuring short hold times and quick resolution of issues is paramount: 46% of customers report having moved to a competitor after waiting too long. Consistently meeting customer expectations means a quick deployment of the right resources. Enabling a work from home customer service function is one way to ensure business is keeping pace with their customers.
An Empowered Experience
“I need to be able to control what our team is doing.” This was a statement made to me a few years ago by a corporate executive who was no fan of having remote employees. In his mind, if you did not have complete oversight of your employees, then the work would not be done the right way. As best I could, I tried to get him to see if that was indeed the case, then perhaps he had hired the wrong people.
In my twenty-five years in business, I have yet to find an employee that likes to be micromanaged or “controlled”. In fact, it will lead to several negative outcomes, including a negative work environment, that will only be passed along to the customer.
Enabling a work from home environment on its own is an environment that empowers employees. Giving employees autonomy to deliver on their responsibilities from their homes, while supporting them with the training and tools to do so, will also be passed along to the customer, resulting in a positive experience. And remember: 95% of your customers say a knowledgeable and friendly customer service rep ranks as a top-three factor for a great customer service experience.
This empowerment of employees has such a profound impact on customers that The Gallup Organisation reports that organisations that empower employees see an incredible 50% increase in customer loyalty.
It’s All About the Customer
Organisations across the globe are looking to find ways to deliver better service, improve customer interactions, and deliver on the promise of experience. Enabling employees to work from home may be one of the places businesses can start.
As more time goes by, many executives are beginning to realise what the likes of Amazon, Lionbridge, and Concentrix have known for some time; working from home may just be the new normal, and the sooner they can adapt, the sooner they and their customers will reap the benefits.