Why Employee Engagement is Critical for Customer Satisfaction in the COVID-19 Era

by | Jul 15, 2020 | Customer Onboarding, Customer Experience, IT Business & Operating Model, Strategy & Assessment

The new normal calls for a change in mindset to enable employee-centric models that ensure optimal outcomes for customers and business success

In times of uncertainty, such as what we are experiencing now, customers are dependent on the service provider for newer and better ways to address their problems. Error-free execution with unwavering commitment becomes more important than ever before.

Workforce commitment, mental and physical readiness, and motivation are the defining yardstick for a service provider’s partnership with the customer, especially in crises like COVID-19. Thus, it’s imperative to focus on the health and well-being of the workforce and have a comprehensive, employee-focused approach to engagement, ensuring optimal outcomes for customers.

There are various levers that will aid in this engagement with employees. These include:

  • Build a culture of empathy: The bond between an organisation and the workforce today rests on virtual interactions. It’s a unique experience for employees and while they are learning each day to perform in the new normal, they need to be assured about the organisation’s investment in their lives and consistent efforts to care for their best interests. It’s recommended to keep employees constantly informed and engaged, and communicate with them on a regular basis.
  • Encourage feedback and keep an open channel of communication: The new normal has redefined workspaces. Future work conversations will lean more and more towards virtual or remote working spaces and rely less on physical ones. Of course, there will be regular interactions between the manager and the team, but the effectiveness will lie in the manner these meetings are conducted. A win-win situation would be to not only enable work allocation but establish an open/dual channel for feedback and brainstorming, which was an integral part of the physical work environment.
  • Recognise & appreciate: Challenges can be specific to a person and driven by his/her own personal strengths and shortcomings. In spite of this, employees strive to fulfil organisational objectives against all odds. In this scenario, success stories and personal notes acknowledging and thanking them and their families for their commitment and dedication can provide the necessary motivation to encourage them to do their best. Celebrating all milestones in the spirit of true collaboration will go a long way.
  • Train and re-skill: Organisations should focus on re-skilling programs to address skill gaps and behavioural training required to overcome technological disruptions, and to ensure nimbleness post COVID-19. It is imperative that agility and the drive to learn and upskill is woven into the cultural fabric of organisations to enable organisational transformation.

New employee engagement opportunities in the new normal

Spending an increasing amount on operational IT is no guarantee for growth or leadership. What matters is how these costs are managed— through platforming, outsourcing, automation, cloud enablement, etc., without compromising on operations, employee experience, partner convenience and customer satisfaction.

Amidst this crisis, organisations must adopt newer and better ways of connecting with employees. Various roles could be transformed into newer roles for increased effectiveness. This will also open up new opportunities for employees to learn and grow.

The blend of virtual engagement and the tea, coffee, and water cooler huddles might just turn out to be the ideal hybrid solution to an effective manager’s communication model.

Collaborative platforms have already turned out to be the new normal for engagement during COVID times, and this is likely to continue.

Re-skilling can prove transformational for organisations. Employees are inclined to upskill amidst this crisis and various organisations are reporting about 2-3 times increase in virtual learning. Online resources, podcasts and in-demand soft skills have been flooding the internet. This presents a unique opportunity for organisations to enable learning with customised and focused learning groups to nurture the next generation workforce, keeping the organisation’s larger goals in mind.

Remote working also provides organisations with the opportunity to evaluate the freelancer model and try crowd-sourced platforms. While this gives organisations access to quality resources to execute projects efficiently at a much faster pace, it also provides employees with the opportunity to work on multiple interesting projects to hone their skills and gain expertise and experience in desired areas.

Reimagining employee engagement for customer success

This is the perfect opportunity to zero in on a diverse, ideal mix of employees needed for the successful execution of projects. Organisational protocols that had been defined as necessary for years are now open to experimentation and workarounds due to this crisis. Organisations should leverage this opportunity to build employee-centric models, striking a good balance between optimal goals that are to be achieved for success, and making relevant modifications to existing models to drive excellence and customer satisfaction.

In a nutshell, it’s more about changing our mindsets than any major upheaval in our work environment. Remote working existed before COVID-19, today it is simply the way to work. As teams embrace the virtual environment, enterprises should be agile enough to provide a holistic and reassuring work culture so that people are adequately compensated with the necessary infrastructure to enable remote working and to fill in the vacuum of physical interactions in their day-to-day work life.

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