Promoting Health and Wellness for Customer Service Representatives
Now that the 2021 holiday shopping season is behind us, and returns are in full force, many of the challenges for the retail industry (and opportunities) for the new year remain. These include supply chain disruptions, empty shelves, the Great Resignation, widespread web outages, and more. It’s not unreasonable to think that many customers may be frustrated, and unfortunately customer service representatives (CSRs) receive the brunt of it through myriad avenues: calls, emails, texts, chats, etc. Retailers need to not only protect their CSRs and store associates, but also promote and ensure their health and wellness. Too often, they're taken for granted or overlooked when really they're the backbone to retail success and growth.
Below are just a few ways retailers, brands, customer service centers, helpdesks and hotlines can help to ensure the health and wellness of their teams during the most hectic seasons in 2022 and beyond:
- Offer flexibility to work from home and provide ample support to do so. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that employees can get the job done no matter where they're located. For retail CSRs, it's critical to create a flexible work environment for employees to ensure a work/life balance and help improve the likelihood of their continued happiness. This includes providing the same technology, sense of community and support they would feel if they were in the office or customer service center.
- Create newsletters, virtual events and other mediums to celebrate customer wins. Weekly or monthly newsletters highlighting customer wins create camaraderie among colleagues and promote internal goodwill. Offer a means to access more information around meditation, yoga or other ways in which CSRs can decompress. “Power hours” are times when representatives working in contact centers can celebrate small victories to showcase the positive in potentially stressful environments. Virtual and/or in-person team events, such as happy hours, are also great tools to promote wins.
- Empower employees to be themselves. Offer employees the opportunities to be their authentic selves and encourage them to share photos and stories of their pets, children, vacations, personal accomplishments and more. This creates a strong bond among them and engages them on a personal level to make them feel celebrated.
- Provide volunteer opportunities. Research from the Stanford Social Innovation Review has shown that people who perform volunteer work, far from being distracted by it, tend to perform better at their jobs. Provide ample opportunities for employees to volunteer in ways that are close to their heart. Making others feel good often produces inherent good feelings in your employees, which should in turn create loyalty, friendship and leadership among them.
- Enforce (or create if need be) responsible hiring initiatives. Empower those that are hired with access to great training, knowledge base tools, and a means to effectively execute their job responsibilities. Always provide employees with equal opportunity advancement, the ability to have a proper work/life balance, and outlets to voice frustrations in safe environments. Listening to employees’ grievances and finding healthy solutions is often a key differentiator between a happy and unhappy employee.
Taking care of frontline associates is not only good for them, but also the right thing to do. It's the right business decision and, just as importantly, the right human decision.
Stephanie Reeves Millner is the executive vice president, strategic CX solutions and partnerships at Teleperformance, a leading global group in digitally integrated business services.
Stephanie Reeves Millner is the Executive Vice President, Strategic CX Solutions and Partnerships at Teleperformance, a leading global group in digitally integrated business services.