Sam Lessin of Fin is wearing glasses and smiling into the camera against a navy background.
Sam Lessin. Image: Fin

How Covid-19 has impacted teams in the CX industry

20 May 2020

For those in CX, working from home has brought limited privacy, connectivity issues and less access to coaching, according to Fin’s Sam Lessin.

Sam Lessin is a co-founder of Fin Analytics, a platform that draws on process data insights to work with clients on optimising their performance management, coaching, tools and automation.

Lessin is also a partner at Slow Ventures and was previously the VP of product management at Facebook. With clients in the customer experience (CX) space, he gave us some insights into how the Covid-19 pandemic has been impacting the industry and those who work in it.

How would you define CX?

CX encompasses every touchpoint a customer has with a brand, from marketing automation to one-on-one support conversations. As many industries adjust to a new environment where customer loyalty and competitive switching costs are at an all-time low, CX has become a key differentiator for businesses and a valuable driver of growth.

Our tools are focused on the human side of customer service and ensuring that frontline teams have what they need to do their jobs well.

Why has CX been impacted by Covid-19?

The impact of Covid-19 on customer service and operational teams has been, needless to say, quite extreme. What we are seeing working with companies is that two things are happening at the same time.

For industries like travel or delivery, contact rates are spiking and teams need help driving up capacity and efficiency to meet this new demand. Teams are seeing a completely different distribution, volume and mix of customer inquiries.

Entire teams are being forced to go remote immediately as contact centres shut down and are scrambling to deal with the security implications, as well as figuring out how to coach and QA people remotely.

Is working in CX more difficult when you have to work from home?

CX teams are held to a set of quality and efficiency metrics and remote work brings a bunch of external factors into the mix that can massively impact performance but are outside of the agent’s control.

First, not everyone has an environment that is conducive to working from home. Some employees won’t feel comfortable answering calls in front of their families or will have more disruptions through the day impacting their overall ability to respond to customer inquiries.

A lot of teams have also experienced network connection issues and compliance complexities that add up to a serious productivity hit and are annoying for employees to have to deal with.

Lastly, coaching and shadowing is challenging in remote environments. It can be easy to fall into a pattern where you only communicate with your team when something goes wrong, which instils fear in employees and destroys morale over time.

How can analysing process data help CX leaders adapt?

Firstly, it improves efficiency and increases capacity. This allows companies to understand where time and effort is going by task type. It helps them make real-time decisions about how to quickly change process and training to use the capacity they have best to serve customers.

Offer turnkey remote security and fraud monitoring. It gives companies the complete click-stream data and video recording of the work that remote agents are doing, which allows teams to rapidly flag and monitor for fraud and security issues in remote environments.

Deploy remote training and coaching. Video playback is designed to provide targeted qualitative insights to help managers understand what their remote team’s exact processes look like and deliver personalised coaching at a distance.

Finally, monitor system bandwidth and manage connectivity. Many organisations have been asking us for insights into which team members are experiencing slow connection speeds and which suppliers or ISPs are not delivering on promised bandwidth and SLAs.

What would your advice be to CX teams and companies adapting to remote working at the moment?

As companies look to optimise in this remote environment, operational analytics are crucial for uncovering trends or inefficiencies and identifying how best to prioritise team efforts. Have a system in place for diagnosing remote issues and understanding their root cause with both qualitative and quantitative insights.

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