Businesses pivoting from offices to homes face a raft of new and unique challenges

Employee wellbeing has moved from important to critical. Threats to productivity shift and swirl around newly remote workforces. Yet customer experience has to remain seamless and more empathetic than ever before.

It’s a challenge we’ve seen first hand across our customers, stakeholders and partners. So in a recent ‘Leading through Change’ webinar, we picked the brains of Samsung UK & Ireland to discuss some of the ways we can minimise and overcome these challenges.

And while everyone’s challenges are different, we believe the lessons here show it's possible to shift to a new way of working quickly, non-disruptively and sustainably


Moving a customer experience team from office to home in 10 days

Samsung UK & I’s B2B customer experience team works across 400+ individual touchpoints, supporting internal and external customers in multiple verticals. From mobile devices to point of sale solutions, the team handles it all. Overall, their Business Services Centre is responsible for supporting over £750m in revenue.

When COVID-19 started affecting how we work and live, Gareth Hobson (Head of B2B CX Operations) and Gary Skeels (Head of B2B CX Development) faced the same challenges as countless other businesses across the country.

Samsung UK & I needed to move an entire operation from a single hub to function across a disparate workforce, while minimising disruption and maximising continuity.


Get a grip on the short term

As a people-first operation, the primary concern was colleague and customer wellbeing. Once employees were home safely, the focus turned to maintaining a continuous level of support to customers.

Relationships take years to build and minutes to disrupt, so time was of the essence. The key was an agile team and structure. On Day 1, it became obvious WFH would be the new normal for the foreseeable future. In response, Samsung UK & I switched from voice and email to digital channels to support the community.

The team then proactively communicated these changes externally. It was vital they informed customers as quickly as possible. The customers’ (enterprises themselves) response has been fantastic – as it’s reassuring to see proof of Samsung’s willingness to quickly adapt to this strange new world.

Gary’s role is to build new services and deliver existing services better. So after helping establish a remote working practice in the short term, Gary could split up his lists of development projects into two clear groups; projects that helped in the short term vs the long term.  

By initially focusing on the former, the team could start bedding in new ways to accelerate towards sustainable working practices in the long term.

Two things help speed up this process. First – keep it simple. Tools like Salesforce Service Cloud can be easily configured to work with the objects you already have. Second – begin with the end in mind. Have a broad idea of where you are trying to get to and work backwards from there. It makes deciding the next step a whole lot easier.


Realise change in the longer term

Remote working has taken away lots of little things we take for granted. Managers can’t pop round to see how their team is doing, or even glance over. It’s easy for people to become invisible.

To maintain a workforce that’s productive and open, managers need oversight of the employees in their care. Using Salesforce’s Manager Dashboards, team leads can track their team’s progress and check in to contribute wherever they’re needed.

And by quickly implementing Chatter––Salesforce’s centralised collaboration tool––managers can instantly communicate across teams and with individuals, bringing them and employees closer together at a time when they couldn’t be further apart.

Gareth, who focuses on delivering support to get Samsung UK & I closer to customers and partners, needed to create a seamless experience for customers. For that to happen, Samsung UK & I needed to make it easier for agents to support and their managers to maintain control over their teams.

Now, the team uses Salesforce Knowledge as a regularly updated single source of truth for employees to rely on for news, policy changes and important announcements. In a world swirling with rumours and misinformation, it’s key to keep customer service reassured, so they can focus on reassuring customers.


Make the changes stick 

This is an opportunity to fundamentally change and improve how we work. While there are many things we can’t wait to return to normality (like everyone else), we also don’t want to go back to where we were.

We’ve found a powerful mindset is not just to survive working in COVID-19, but figuring out how to sustainably improve as we go. Digital channels like video conferencing are likely here to stay and will retain their value when life returns to normal. Embracing them now means we can take the lessons learned and incorporate them into everyday work for the better.

Learning how to combine remote and office-based working can bring huge productivity gains post Covid-19. And the biggest one is speed of action – making a decision, jumping on a video conference, starting the work and reviewing progress within days.

Working under this pressured timeline means you can attack projects and get results fast. Do something now; build on it next week; improve on it later.

We’ve also found a key factor in rapid change is proving value to stakeholders. Internal communication is as important as external; show how making CX central to your value proposition has sparked greater innovation across the wider business.

In spite of all the tools and platforms at our disposal, people remain at the heart of what we do. So give team members license to step up and contribute. 

Despite its challenges, we’ve found rapid change brings out the best in people. Share best practice across teams, let employees update training guides and host online knowledge sharing sessions.

By constantly collating ideas, you can build use cases through the people working close to customers and figuring out ways to do things better. Everyone can raise the bar in a time when high bars have never been needed more.


Watch the full webinar: How Samsung UK Pivoted to Remote & Streamlined Customer Service