By Paula Sartini, founder and CEO at BrandQuantum International
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the workplace forward by several years, giving employees a taste of remote working and proving to employers that work-from-anywhere can and does work. With Accenture finding that 83% of employees are opting for a hybrid remote office working model, businesses are heeding the call with 92% evaluating or planning to move to the hybrid model according to research finding from Everest Group.
There are several benefits of the hybrid work model for employees, ranging from better mental health to improved work-life balance which has a knock-on effect for the company’s offering hybrid work models, as happier employees deliver better results.
However, there are key considerations that companies should adhere to, to ensure that they are meeting customers’ needs when opting for a hybrid workforce as the customer experience impacts all areas of business.
Safeguard personal data
The increased use of digital tools during the COVID-19 pandemic led the global population onto a new trajectory of cyber threats and attacks. While cyber-attacks are unlikely to stop soon, customers expect companies to have measures in place to keep their data secure and prevent it from falling into the hands of third parties or cybercriminals. At the same time companies need to have measures in place to empower employees to work from anywhere, while keeping customer data secure and delivering on customer expectations to close the delivery gap.
According to Accenture, ransomware, social engineering and malicious insider activity are the top three cyberattacks organisations are most concerned about. The company also recognises that cybersecurity is not a separate technology but rather spans technology, processes and people. As such, to minimise malicious insider activity, companies need to implement permission-based systems that prevent employees from accessing specific customer data and information, particularly while working remotely.
Further to this, companies should use software solutions that have been built with security upfront and include segmentation of risk to safeguard customer data. It is also beneficial to use a solution that has been internationally pen tested to ensure that it meets international privacy standards, giving customers peace of mind that their data is in safe hands.
Deliver consistent brand experiences
Brand consistency is the foundation of a business’s identity. When employees are able to work from anywhere, companies must have measures in place to ensure that each employee across the organisation delivers a consistent brand experience in every customer interaction. This brand consistency assures customers that the communication is authentic and originated from the company.
In addition to providing peace of mind, having brand compliant content easily available to employees when it is needed, they are able to focus on meeting customer expectations with improved response times and on-brand content every time. Further by empowering employees to access the correct information at the right time, employee satisfaction levels improve and this also has a direct impact on customer experience.
Get real-time feedback from customers
Customer experience is an important differentiator for brands and in today’s global market, companies are no longer competing against the service delivered by competitors but rather against the best experiences customers have received from companies in other industries too. As such companies should gather customer feedback throughout the customer journey. By gathering real-time feedback, companies can determine if customers are happy with the experience they have had and rectify any potential issues as soon as they arise.
Whether employees are working remotely all or part of the time, email is a key business tool used to engage customers and this platform provides an opportunity to gather real-time feedback from customers. In doing this, companies are able to understand where any potential issues are in the process, understand if the customer expectations were met or uncover what the customer pain points were at the time to be able to resolve any issues as soon as they happen. This feedback is also useful for measuring employee performance which is particularly valuable when managing a hybrid workforce.
The world has changed over the past two years with the workplace evolving to a hybrid model but customer experience still matters. This experience must be at the centre of every business decision and employees are equipped with the tools they need to deliver consistent customer experiences that not only deliver on brand experiences but also put customer data security at the forefront. Companies also need to have mechanisms in place to measure customer experiences along the customer journey to correct any pitfalls along the way as they happen to remain competitive in today’s evolving business landscape.
Paula Sartini, an analytical thinker, strives to solve business problems with innovative solutions. She believes that technology is key to addressing business challenges and is passionate about the role women have to play in the technology space.
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