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September 1, 2021

Managing Remote Customer Care

Hannah Van Pay | Marketing and Communications Student Assistant

Slide from August 19 event. Managing Remote Customer Care Since the Covid-19 pandemic’s beginning in 2020, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of remote work. In the August 19th Customer Service Peer Group web meeting, we discussed both the benefits and challenges of remote customer care, as well as what the future holds for remote work in this field.

Focusing on the most important elements to success, speakers Mike Wygocki (Executive Director of Customer Success, Demco), Carmella Uptagraft (Senior Manager of Customer Service, North Face Wholesale) Erin Dunlavy (Manager of Customer Service Training, VF Corporation), and Jenny Morton (Senior Product Support Manager, J.J. Keller & Associates) shared their insights on boosting morale, maintaining engagement, building workplace connections, and eliciting high effort and high performance.

One of the biggest takeaways from this session was each speaker's key ideas for successful remote work. Mike Wygocki’s three guiding principles sum up the overall ideas of this session phenomenally. These principles include setting expectations that build trust with team members and with customers, sharing information and results of how we are serving customers, and coaching for development rather than finding things that they did wrong. Dunlavy uses a similar philosophy when it comes to training at VF Corporation, where they hire 300+ temps for seasonal employment during the holiday season. Rather than looking at what a trainee is doing wrong, they use several friendly approaches to train their expansive team; these include classroom system applications, self-paced learning, and live-action roleplaying. Whether it’s a brand-new employee, or someone who has worked at the company for years, the transition to remote work is no easy task, but these companies have found breakthrough ways to continue their success as we deal with this new, hybrid world of working.

Later in the session, Morton discussed setting clear expectations for employees as they work remotely. Through defining individual roles and responsibilities, maintaining "business as usual" despite being remote, and making sure all company policies still apply to employees, one can set their team up for success as they navigate remote work. Each speaker dove into their personal expectations of remote employees, highlighting the idea of having daily, weekly and monthly goals to ensure business continuity.

The speakers discussed a diverse set of tactics, each with varying plans for the future of their company regarding remote work. Whatever the future may hold for this mode of work, we now know of its many benefits. Between access to a larger pool of talent, incentives for staff, reduced staff attrition, flexibility, and reduced facilities costs, it’s no doubt that remote work in the customer care industry is here to stay.

View the full meeting video and presentations here (member sign-on is required).

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