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78% of customer service pros say remote work has made their job harder

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78% of customer service pros say remote work has made their job harder

The vast majority of customer service professionals have found it more challenging to work across the channels and stakeholders that make up the customer journey, and they’re looking for additional training and operational changes as a result, according to a recent study from Bloomfire and 451 Research.

Austin-based Bloomfire, which produces applications designed to improve the sharing of knowledge and insights, partnered with 451 Research to poll 300 customer experience (CX) professionals as well as those in customer service, marketing, sales and customer insights. The report frames the results into Five Best Practices To Future-Proof The Customer Experience.

The feedback from customer service professionals was even higher than those in a CX role, though 66 per cent of the latter group also felt remote work was making collaboration difficult. The results got worse the more distributed the organization, with 42 per cent of those with offices in multiple regionss said they were struggling with remote work.

“Many CX professionals have noticed an increase in their productivity when working remotely, but that productivity is often joined by elevated stress, burnout and disengagement, which is likely to lead to lower productivity and shorter tenure in the longer term,” the report’s author wrote. “For many businesses, the shift to remote work has lifted the veil on how poorly information flows across their organization and the realization that additional conferencing calls, emails and messaging aren’t going to fix that.”

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As you might expect given Bloomfire’s key focus areas, the report’s recommendations include the automation of manual work and the ability to add greater context arounnd goals, decisions and actions. Other sections in the report also highlighted how firms that make greater use of “real time data” tend to be more mature in their adoption of CX than other companies.

One of the other problems revealed by the study, however, is a disconnect around CX leadership. Part of the research process, for example, was for each department to self-evaluate its ownership of CX responsibilities and then to assess other functions. While 66 per cent of customer service teams felt they were leading CX, though, less than 20 per cent of their counterparts felt the same.

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Fortunately, customer service was the top-ranked line of business where CX professionals said collaboration needs to improve. This was closely followed by marketing and customer insights.

Overall, the structure and flow of this short 20-page report helps make the data more actionable. Rather than waiting until the end for the researcher’s (and Bloomfire’s) advice, the data is used to back up the five best practices in a way that could be easily repurposed by a CX leader who wanted to make the case for change in their own organization.

Given the recent release of Forrester’s CX Index 2021, it would be interesting to cross-reference the top firms with this study to see to what extent their operations and policies reflect these best practices.

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