3 Tips For Consistency with a Distributed, Remote or Deskless Workforce
Here’s a question: how on earth do you maintain a *consistently* awesome customer experience with a frontline workforce that is spread across multiple locations? Especially if they’re out in the field moving from customer to customer, or don’t see their manager in person very often? How can you ensure that Ronnie from the Houston branch, is matching the level of service that Dave from the Orlando branch does when they’re both out in the field? How can we ensure that each and every customer, no matter where they are, walks away feeling blown away, to the same degree? It’s a challenge that almost every service business with deskless, distributed or remote workforces face.
Luckily, there are tried and tested solutions that are proven to improve and maintain awesome customer experiences, no matter how big or how scattered a workforce is.
Let’s dive into three of the major strategies and solutions:
1. Set Clear Service Guidelines & Coach to Them
Every experience brand should have a set of clear, well-informed and widely understood standards of customer service that are hyper visible and used to coach employees.
While it may seem like a simple business practice, we’ve found organizations across the globe underuse their service guidelines. A recent study by Metrigy found that while the majority of companies in the study had defined consistent service standards, over half had not made those standards visible to staff (beyond an onboarding presentation when they were first hired), and only 17.7% had made those standards visible to staff AND customers.
These standards become even more important when dealing with a distributed or remote workforce. Employees often aren’t in the office to peer up at the print-out on the wall, so you need to find other ways to ensure your standards are front and center. For example sending reminders to their phone before a service is provided, either as part of a daily checkin or embedded into a dispatch notice.
Clear service standards level the playing field, show employees what success looks like, and provide them with tangible goals to reach. Without them, teams often lack focus, creating major inconsistencies across employees, branches and locations.
2. Recognize and Reward
When you don’t see your employees face to face every day, it’s easy to let gratitude slip through the cracks.
As the visionary hotelier Hervé J.L. Humler said:
“I believe in the power of recognition and empowerment leading to great employee engagement. And employee engagement is critical to guest engagement. Employee empowerment and recognition is the core of our culture and how we achieve outstanding customer service".
Recognizing and rewarding employees is one of the most impactful ways of improving and maintaining customer experience. While it’s often overlooked, it has dramatic effects on the customer experience. It’s simple: happy, valued and appreciated employees deliver more impressive and meaningful experiences to customers.
If you’ve read the Seven Habits of Empowered Frontline Teams, you’ll know that 69% of employees would work harder if their efforts were better appreciated. But again, when we’re talking about remote, deskless or distributed workforces, recognizing and rewarding becomes even more important. Employees can’t see and experience your smiles, appreciative body language and friendly tone in person, so extra effort to ensure your employees feel valued, seen and appreciated is required.
Here’s what you can do:
- Give your team regular shoutouts, and make them specific: Show your team some love, make high performers feel seen and send personalized messages to employees for great work in the moment, no matter where they are.
- Connect teams to customer feedback: Let your frontline teams see the impact they are making! Positive feedback from customers shows employees how their work impacts customer experience and reinforces positive behavior.
- Create company wide awards: Hold digital and in-person award ceremonies and give out kudos and prizes to employees who are killing it.
- Get feedback from your teams: Not sure how your employees would want to be recognized and rewarded? Ask them!
Keep in mind that while gifts and rewards are awesome, sometimes the best recognition can come in the simplest of forms such as “Great job, you’re killing the follow up calls this week!” or “Thank you for your effort, I know that customer can be prickly.” Show your team you are paying attention, and their efforts make a difference.
3. Invest in Technology
Distributed workforces and remote teams struggle to meet a superior level of customer experience without the right tools and technology. Period.
Someone who knows first-hand the power of using technology to support and enable remote frontline teams is Aptive’s Sr Director of Strategy and innovation, Dane Dellenbach.
Aptive is a fast growing pest control company with a large, distributed workforce helping serving households all across the United States.
Two years ago they faced a common problem: how do you maintain the same level of service while rapidly growing your business, and managing a distributed team?
Little inconsistencies started to cost them big time. Between rework, customer’s leaving and loss of referrals, they knew they had to do something.
They started to fuel their organization with real-time customer insights–That’s where we come in. Aptive now gets data on what customers actually care about in each region, and feedback is filtered straight from the customer to their customer facing team, motivating and empowering those who can make the biggest difference.
Best of all they equip their regional and local level managers with the power to coach remotely for the things that need more work, and celebrate their team when things go great.
In total, Aptive has seen a monthly rise in NPS since their launch of AskNicely starting at 31.1 points and rising to 61.
“Using AskNicely has transformed how we work with our field service team. We have already seen a dramatic rise in our lowest performers toward our best performers leading to a 28 point NPS increase. The rework cost we are saving alone pays for the tool and we have a lot more we can do now that we have AskNicely.” — Dane Dellenbach, Sr Director of Strategy and Innovation.
Does this sound like you?
Creating awesome customer experiences is a constant work in progress. As Juliee Gessin, VP of Operations at Schweiger Dermatology Group once said “creating the ultimate customer experience is a forever aspiration goal, every day we accomplish it in some way, but we can never get complacent”. While customer experience is always a work in progress, there are tangible steps you can take that will help your distributed workforce nail it every time.
- Establish clear service standards, and actually USE THEM
- Build mechanisms to regularly recognize and reward frontline teams for their personal achievements.
- Use technology to level up the employee and customer experience.
Want to learn how Aptive coaches 2500 mobile workers
to deliver exceptional service?