CX Strategy: What Now? - WFH Takes Center Stage

by Robèrt van Diem | October 26, 2020

 

I’m pleased to announce that I will be participating in a debate hosted by 5CA on October 27th. The title is CX Strategy: What Now? It’s going to be particularly topical, as one of the key things we will discuss, in the midst of this pandemic, is working from home (WFH) in the CX arena. 

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The panelists are: 

I’m personally looking forward to talking about how advisors really can deliver customer service without a traditional contact center. Many in the BPO and CX community were forced to move to a WFH business model because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but at 5CA we didn’t miss a beat. All our advisors already worked from home – and have been doing for many years. 

In fact, 5CA has been on a two-decade journey to where we are today. We started some basic WFH services almost 20 years ago and gradually expanded the WFH team. Today, we only hire advisors who will work from home and over 95% of our company is WFH. Talent identification, recruitment, onboarding, learning & development, engagement and team-building are all done virtually. 

These functions will seem similar to those in many CX companies today, but there is a big difference in 5CA in that we have designed our company to function remotely. It’s now baked into our DNA. Many companies that were forced to move their team into a WFH environment will have hired those people to work in an office, and many will find it difficult to work from home and many will not want to do it. Our people not only want to work from home, they have the aptitude to do so. 

Your corporate culture has to be very open and transparent if you want to create a highly-functioning team of people who never actually meet each other. The environment needs to be value-driven, fully enabled, and proactive. My observation is that contact center advisors that are forced to WFH, appear to be replicating bricks & mortar management practices remotely – good luck with that! 

Anyone applying for a job with 5CA knows that they will be based from home. They want to work from home. Nobody is forcing a change in their contract. We have spent years creating a culture inside 5CA that helps a distributed team to work together. It’s not just the systems or processes, it’s how people behave and trust each other. My colleague Marcel Stroop appeared on Mark Hillary’s podcast recently and said: “there is no point arranging virtual happy hours in an effort to bring the team together if you have not created a culture of transparency and trust.” Never a truer word spoken! 

A WFH approach can dramatically change the way that you see – and value – your customer service team: 

  • Unlimited choice: if you can hire anyone from anywhere then you suddenly raise the bar on the quality of your team. Your talent pool isn’t limited to the distance of a local commute. You don’t even need to accept people from the same country – just go global and find the best people. 
  • Advocates: because you have more choice, you can also seek out advocates – fans of the brand you are supporting. We support a major beer brand. One of the hiring requirements for that customer service team is that people we hire must be interested in home brewing and good quality beer. When we look for people to support gaming companies we search for gamers and ask if they want to get paid to help other players inside their favorite game. We find fans of brands because we know they have the potential to create emotional connections with customers and players – and this connection is the route to increased spend and advocacy. 
  • Diversity: many people are excluded from the workforce because they cannot work long shifts day after day or they find commuting difficult. Just imagine if you could welcome all these people to your CX team. The retired people who just want to work a few days per week, but have enormous experience and enthusiasm. The wheelchair user who finds it almost impossible to use public transport. The parent managing childcare, but with empty time in the center of the day. The gifted students funding their degrees who are hungry to earn money supporting customers of their favorite brands. All these groups of people can be welcomed into your team and create a diverse and united workforce. 

I passionately believe that we are witnessing a dramatic change in the way that people work. It will become more inclusive, flexible, and conducive to family life. Who can forget that people have been crying out for a greater work/life balance for years and yet the solution was to start rethinking the use of commuting and offices. So obvious, but it’s taken a global pandemic to drive this change for many businesses! 

A WFH strategy is about far more than just sending people home with a laptop. It is a lifestyle change and we should all be embracing this opportunity to work more effectively from home. This really is the new normal for CX. 

I look forward to discussing this with analysts Peter Ryan and Stephen Loynd, and CX guru and author, Mark Hillary. Please register for tomorrow’s webinar or share your ideas or questions here as a comment or if you would prefer to message me privately just send a direct message to my LinkedIn profile here. 

 

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Robèrt van Diem

Robèrt is an all-round manager with over 20 years experience in various C-level positions at international BPO service providers driving Customer Experience.