Employees prefer remote-hybrid working models since they are more flexible and lessen their daily trips.
Many businesses enjoy it because it increases productivity while decreasing expenses.
But where is the long-term advantage if the procedure results in dissatisfied customers who believe the customer experience is now worse than it was before Covid-19?
According to new research, remote workers in key customer-facing jobs such as sales are losing touch with their clients at a time when service expectations have never been higher.
The study used a combination of transcribed telephone interviews and electronic research, with a focus on South Africa's leading financial services firms, including multinationals.
It’s a similar situation in call centres, where customers are irritated by poor connectivity, dropped calls, high levels of background noise, and slow response times when interacting with work-from-home agents.
The chief executive of nlightencx, Nathalie Schooling says the study shows that there are several challenges to providing a decent customer experience when employees work remotely.
“Post-Covid, the world of work in South Africa has changed. But so too has the customer journey and client expectations. People now demand high levels of excellence, instant attention to their queries, and quick turnaround times when they have problems.
“This is creating a disconnect and customer experience will continue to suffer if remote-hybrid work is not managed correctly – and the appropriate training, AI and automation tools are not put in place to streamline customer service processes,” adds Schooling.
Schooling highlights that, with 63% of survey respondents reporting that their departments use a hybrid work style, it’s reasonable to assume that remote and hybrid work are not going away any time soon.
Neither is load shedding, which is undoubtedly a contributing factor to many of the difficulties reported.
Some of the particular issues expressed by survey respondents about customer experience and a hybrid-remote working environment, the following stood out:
– Because of load shedding, remote employees are offline for lengthy periods of time.
– Due to load shedding, voice calls are being lost.
– Inadequate internet connectivity.
– More incoming calls (from customers) are being dropped before being answered.
– When employees work from home, there is excessive background noise during phone calls.
– Staff appear to be distracted by events at home such as children and pets.
Remote employees are having difficulty quickly sharing vital client information with one another, resulting in delayed or low-quality customer answers.