By Nichole Osborn
Work-at-home careers in customer experience (CX) are more popular than ever, but as these jobs evolve so rapidly, they require employees and employers to heavily commit to skill development to be successful.
The main challenge for CX companies is continuously training remote employees in soft and hard skills while ensuring they stay engaged and motivated. In a work-at-home environment, the training experience is nothing like the traditional physical classroom model, so how can employers adapt to ensure they empower people to take their careers to the next level?
In honor of National Career Development Month this November, here are some examples of how we focus on skill development for our growing team of work-at-home Ambassadors.
Engaging, Effective Learning
Companies often expect their remote employees to trudge through endless training sessions, read massive documents for each module, and then come away having absorbed all that information. In my experience, these methods don’t result in a motivated, knowledgeable, dedicated remote team — rather, the opposite.
With work-at-home training and coaching, you must find unique ways to keep people engaged while fostering relationship-building with their peers and team leads. Traditionally, most work-at-home training courses are self-paced, but companies can succeed more when engaging with trainees regularly.
At Activus Connect, we make training as interactive as possible for our Ambassadors and only expect them to perform self-paced activities for a maximum of 60 minutes daily. We break up each training day, however we can, to ensure they have everything they need to be successful.
For example, they might spend part of the day with a one-to-one trainer, then attend a virtual classroom using our SmartVirtual platform. Later, they’ll engage in role-plays and other activities with their fellow Ambassadors. We’ll also send out poll questions they can answer as they go through the material, adding to that variety.
At times, moving away from the training material is essential. Trainers should get to know people, ask about their day, or simply talk about lunch. Our Ambassadors love discussing lunch and sharing recipes after the session. One team even created a recipe book during their training period, which was a fantastic way to build rapport.
Finding and Developing the Right Skills
Activus Connect is dedicated to elevating customer and Ambassador experiences, so the first skills we focus on when training work-at-home teams are empathy, professionalism, and the motivation to help people. Covid accelerated a need for these skills, but we continue to teach them today since they are so effective.
On top of soft skills, our Ambassadors must be capable of multitasking with technology. Commonly, they might have to respond to one customer over chat while talking to another customer or filling out a ticket simultaneously.
The secret to successful multitasking is setting people up for success. All of our work-at-home Ambassadors use a minimum of two monitors. We also provide training on organizing their screens, processing tickets, and using the various tools required for the job.
Social media has created an excellent foundation for this type of work since social messaging services are very similar. However, many people are still challenged by technology in today’s tech-savvy world, so we have to vet candidates to ensure they’re adequately prepared for the position.
We want people to feel like part of a community on every level. It’s vital that they form relationships with peers and get motivated about working with us, so we encourage people to collaborate as much as possible and share their knowledge with others, strengthening their skill sets even further.
Pursuing Life-Changing Careers at Activus
As Activus Connect continues to grow, more opportunities become available, and many people are promoted from within the company. For example, people who start as an Ambassador can move up to a TEC (team experience coordinator) role and eventually become a CXM (customer experience manager). When our Ambassadors see their peers progress on these career paths, they naturally want to follow in their footsteps.
We’ve made skill development easy for career progression. People can access our Career Path Development course at any time to learn about the different positions available at the company. The course includes around 70 modules that people can take in their own time to prepare for these positions. We’ve also included videos that portray a day in the life of each job, so people can see what suits them, and we plan to introduce mentoring programs shortly.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned as a 100% remote company, commitment to skill development is critical for successful work-at-home operations. So, whether you run a company that wants to strengthen its work-at-home workforce or you’re a candidate looking for a rewarding new career in remote CX, it’s essential to find ways to grow your skillset and think outside the traditional training box.