Among the most abiding images of lockdown have been the shuttered shops, as well as deserted airports, hotels, and restaurants. Customer service and support workers have been at the sharp end of this upheaval.
More than half of the customer service and support workers surveyed for the 2021 Randstad Employer Brand Research kept on working.
But one in three have worked longer hours, reduced hours or for a reduced salary in 2020 due to COVID-19. Many have also faced safety issues and health concerns, not just from the threat of infection, but also anxiety and stress.
Our research also revealed that women employees are much more likely than men to have been working for reduced hours or for reduced pay during the pandemic.
Even as economies get back up and running, the disruption continues.
employer branding priorities to engage customer services and support workers
Our customer service and support professions report highlights the extent to which allegiance to employers depends on how valued and supported employees have felt during the pandemic.
It also shows the importance of this sentiment in attracting and retaining great talent. From analysis of the research findings and their implications, 3 priorities for action stand out on employee engagement and how to retain your customer service and support team.
1. show that you care
Customer service is important in any business as it helps retain and increase customer loyalty, reinforce company values and brand and help boost revenue.
And the level of care and support you offer to your employees during this difficult time provides an authentic demonstration of your purpose, values, and culture. This will directly impact your employer brand.
Encouragingly, our research shows that most customer service and support employers have got this right. More than three in five respondents in this function now feel more loyal to their employers as a result of the support they’ve received during the pandemic.
It is only right to show that you value your customer service and support workers so that they will want to continue working for you. While these factors have always been important, the need to look after your people has been heightened by growing staff shortages due to the COVID-19 disruptions and safe distancing measures. The research reveals that nearly 1 in 4 customer service and support workers plan to change employers in the next 6 months.
Sheila Harvey, Randstad’s VP of enterprise accounts, stresses the extent to which “the most valued employers build lifelong relationships with employees at all levels. Even in high turnover roles, employees are also key consumers and brand advocates. Your employer brand can therefore be as important as your product branding and should be considered as part of your overall marketing strategy.”
2. tackle job insecurity
Job security is one of the three most important factors for choosing an employer among customer service and support workers, alongside pay and work-life balance. Job security always rises up the priority list in times of economic crisis.
The need to assure employees and boost security is heightened by the fact that the fearful workers are more than twice as likely to plan to change jobs over the next 6 months than more secure colleagues.
To stay afloat and secure jobs in a competitive market, talent in this sector should consider upskilling to enhance their customer service skills. Companies can also show their support by providing customer service training that could hone their workforce skills to be able to deliver an ultimate customer experience and improve customer satisfaction.
3. strengthen work-life balance
Aside from work environment and positive work culture, work-life balance is a key factor in choosing an employer among all customer service and support workers. But just how much work-life balance can you offer given the nature of your business? Much more than you might imagine.
Work-life balance is now coming to be seen as much more than just flexible working. Indeed, as ways of working change in the wake of the pandemic, it’s important to look at work-life as a blend, as well as a balance. The key is ensuring that personal and professional lives are in harmony. For customer service and support workers, the priorities include ensuring the time at work is as much fun as possible, creating a strong sense of community within the workforce, and enabling people to be their true selves when they’re with colleagues and customers.
Positive work culture is one of the key drivers of employee engagement. A company with a healthy work environment makes happy employees that are more likely to stay engaged, motivated, and committed.
Sheila Harvey highlights how work-life balance is increasingly important for all of us, especially employees who have to manage economic pressures, and child and family care in the kind of environment of uncertainty we’ve seen over the past year. “Everyone wins when companies are able to recognise how ‘work’ fits into the co-worker's whole life and focus on sustaining a flexible and inclusive workplace,” she says.
download the global customer service and support workers 2021 employer brand report.
To find out more about what talent in your sector wants from their employers, download the latest Randstad Employer Brand Research customer service and support professions report.
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To establish great customer relationships and engagement, you would need to have an engaged customer service and support talents with the right customer service skills. Connect with our recruitment consultants and let us know how we can help you drive your future workforce.