This article originally appeared in CustomerThink
By: Elizabeth Brockey, Chief Customer Officer at Simpli.fi
The world has changed over the last 20+ months and as the society continues to reopen, businesses are making decisions on how long to remain remote, when to welcome teams back to the office or how to introduce a hybrid model. It remains clear that, for the majority of companies, working remotely was surprisingly successful. Whether your company has made a decision on working from home, returning to the office, or a hybrid model, each model can have a profound impact on the client’s experience and the types of communication and service they receive. It is imperative that as teams work to begin their return to office or integration to hybrid schedules, clients’ success remains a top priority as organizations continue to evaluate the new working world of client and service provider relationships.
The Constantly Evolving Workforce:
During the pandemic, many businesses saw team member availability skyrocket. From team members who had more time based on not commuting, to those that had fewer activities and thus more time, service availability set a standard for clients to expect faster responses and longer availability during workdays. Additionally, it became the norm that while living in close proximity to workspaces and individual team members operating on different schedules, there was a tendency to constantly check up on emails or other work activities.
However, it’s important to note that working remotely full time is not always the preferred method as people need to achieve a work/life balance to reduce employee burnout. With the return of hybrid work environments, different time zones and schedules, and a more defined work/life balance as people return to office schedules, these expectations must evolve. To correctly account for this, teams must coordinate their efforts to make sure that, if needed, they can be there to assist clients with whatever tasks they present while still protecting their coworkers from burnout.
Meeting Service-Level Agreements (SLAs):
With the workforce changing their routines for the first time in over a year, Service-Level Agreements (SLA) are the key toolset for a successful client and provider relationship. To ensure that both parties are in an amicable position, there must be well-defined expectations for each side. It is vital for service providers to have clear documentation of processes and procedures so management can hold their teams accountable for hitting stated goals each month. Included in that, is the capability for managing up and down. Team members must be able to escalate things in a timely manner if necessary or be able to properly identify how to move tasks forward on their own. That way, the responsibilities can be shared amongst a team to ensure that the defined and expected work gets done correctly in a way that saves time.
How to Measure Team Success:
While there is a handful of data and statistics available through different software tools, Net Promoter Scores (NPS) are a great way to gauge customer experience. These surveys are often the gold standard in customer experience metrics and dive deeper into how likely or unlikely a customer would be to recommend services. An NPS survey that contains open-ended questions is one of the best practices to engage audiences and get a more holistic response. A/B testing is another route for receiving the best responses from clients. By tweaking the title of emails or the text in the body, open rates can increase, and companies can receive feedback from their clients that will dictate their business operations.
By meeting SLA Terms and providing superior service to clients, companies can keep their NPS scores high and retain their business partners. Although companies are undergoing rapid changes due to shifting work schedules, maintaining superior service to clients will always remain a top priority. Finding the balance between delivering on these standards for a client in a fashion that best serves the internal team, will lead to the best results.