5 Tips to Make WFM = A+ CX
It goes without saying that many changes have swept into our lives in the last year-and-a-half, and one of them is how we all view working from home. No longer an oddball perk, remote work has become the new normal as more employers embrace the cost savings, productivity surges, and morale boosts that can be had from the right work from home setup. In a 2021 State of Remote Work report, 97.6% of remote workers said that they would like to continue working remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their career. 83% of employers say the shift to remote work has been successful for their company, according to a PwC survey. Less than one in five executives say they want to return to the office as it was pre-pandemic.
Remote work is the new black, and it’s not just a fad.
At the same time, customers are demanding better experiences, more tailored solutions, and a deeper understanding of their needs from the businesses they support. 85% of business buyers say that the customer experience (CX) is just as important to them as the product or services they’re purchasing. And nearly the same number (84%) are also more likely to buy from a company that demonstrates an understanding of their business goals.
What does this mean for Customer Success organizations? For one, it means that the grace period for a bumpy CX (while everyone scrambled to transition to a virtual environment) has come to an end. Customers are no longer accepting excuses for poor experiences and support. Though we’re all still adjusting to our new work-from-home (WFH) lifestyle, customers and leadership alike expect CSMs to provide the outstanding CX that they’re known for.
The good news is that it’s never too late to up your CX game as a remote CSM. A few minor adjustments, and you’ll be kicking WFH’s butt! Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Let’s get digital
As a CSM, you already know that automation is your friend. What you might not realize is that automation makes a home-based workstyle easier too. Much easier. If you’ve been waiting for the moment to do some extra training on your team’s new tech stack or to ditch your legacy CRM for a sleek CS platform, now is the time. Embrace the world of digital solutions!
During the pandemic, virtual tools were thrust into the spotlight, and, during this trial by fire, no one was certain which ones would come out on top. But now, we know there are many winning platforms designed to make working from home more accessible than ever. Interlace your digital Customer Success strategy with your remote work processes to become an unbeatable remote CSM, delivering exceptional customer engagement without ever stepping out of your home (but don’t forget to get some fresh air every once in a while!).
2. Organize to maximize efficiency
Providing top-notch customer experiences in CS means proactively engaging with your customers before any issues may arise. You’re constantly leveraging processes, systems, and data to identify issues, check-in at the right moments, and make sure that your products and services align with your customers’ long-term goals. All of this takes an awful lot of planning ahead.
Last year, many of us struggled to keep up with our daily to-do lists, and it would be reasonable to assume that many CSMs let their proactive mindset slip a little bit. But it’s time to take a step back, reassess priorities, and put the processes back in place that make proactive, dynamic engagement with our customers possible. In a work-from-home setting, this means taking the time to organize your systems and practices to maximize efficiencies, from the big stuff like account segmentation down to tidying up your physical workspace.
3. Don’t forget the big picture
It can be so easy for CSMs to fall into an order-taker role where they’re constantly putting out fires. Sometimes it feels like 2020 was just one big fire we were all trying to put out (and it’s still going on). When you’re flooded with requests for support, it’s challenging to take the reins and drive toward a more intentional and collaborative partnership with your customers. When you’re working from home, this can be even more difficult.
The trick here is to keep the big picture in mind. With the help of CS leadership, CSMs can stop, take a breath, and reorient themselves so that their time is appropriately split between reactive and proactive tasks, helping everyone march ever-closer to these long-term goals.
4. “C” is for connection, that’s good enough for me!
You’re always connecting with your customers, but remember to connect with your colleagues too! When you’re not in the office, you miss out on all the small interactions, impromptu hallway chats, and deeper discussions that can happen with your fellow workmates during the day. But these collaborations yank you out of your routine and give you opportunities to see things from other points of view. Sharing issues you’re struggling with and helping others brainstorm can really get your creative juices flowing and keep you from feeling lonely.
It may take a little extra effort in a virtual setting, but keep the connections you have with other CSMs, your managers, your CS Ops buddies, and people from different teams alive. Set a recurring meeting with smaller, cross-team groups to do check-ins and share what projects you’re working on. Do these kinds of meetings both with and without your managers. Host regular team happy hours at the end of each week. Happier CSMs lead to happier customers, so when you feel better supported by your team, you’ll all be able to support your customers better too.
5. Know when to shut it down
In a typical office-style arrangement, you get to work, and you clock in. When you leave, you clock out, and you’re done! Who am I kidding? Ever since we could carry our emails around on a phone, that work-life balance has gone out the window. But, once your bedroom became your office, finding a balance between work and play has never been harder. You can’t provide a killer CX if you burn out, so you need to build in some boundaries.
The majority of respondents to the 2021 State of Remote Work survey said that not being able to unplug from their work was their biggest struggle. For rockstar CSMs, this is even harder to remember. Managers need to keep an eye out for signs of burnout and fatigue. CSMs are so hyper-focused on taking care of others that it’s hard for them to remember to take care of themselves. Make your mental health a priority. Know when to clock out, take frequent breaks, and talk to someone if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
The bottom line:
We know that WFH is nothing new, but to reap all the benefits WFH has to offer, CS organizations need to invest in the right tools and strategies to ensure their people’s success. CS leaders and CSMs can work together to incorporate these tips into their routines so that everyone can provide A+ CX – no matter where they are in the world.