The Global Frontline Experience Summit 2022 featured a number of interactive Q&A sessions with frontline leaders. If you missed the event, don’t worry - all of the powerful sessions are available here.
Few people know contact centers like Jeremy Hyde. He’s spent the bulk of his career helping companies like Medica and UCare, and now Sun Country Airlines, deliver an exceptional experience to customers. In his current role as Director of Customer Service, he supports an incredible 1,800 employees and 3 million passengers.
Christine Trippi, founder of The Wise Pineapple and our host at the Global Frontline Experience Summit, caught up with Jeremy for an unfiltered chat about getting the basics right when it comes to hiring, inspiring and caring for your customer service teams in a remote working environment. Across all of these, doing just one thing better can place you streets ahead of the competition.
“Great service standards are ambitious and aspirational. Turning them from theory into action can seem daunting, but small improvements to achieve daily can drive monumental change,”
Here’s how Jeremy’s team does just that…
Recruitment should be laser focused
It’s on every leader’s mind right now – how do I find the right people?
“The first step is having a team of people ready to find them. If you work for a large organisation, you may have a recruiting team that really knows how to source candidates. For smaller organisations, agencies can be wonderful partners,” explains Jeremy.
Secondly, keep the process as short as possible.
When you advertise, you want the position to be up long enough to attract enough applicants. You should also assess how long it takes to screen applicants and conduct interviews and then stick to those timelines. A quick hiring process is a great experience for candidates and will help you secure talent faster than competitors.
Lastly, Jeremy is also an advocate for sharing salary range.
“If you’ve given people sufficient information, they’ll ask themselves ‘Does that check all the boxes for me?’ Hopefully, they're self-selecting and identifying that they’re a good fit for the role, rather than you having to do a lot of the screening. Being upfront about your salary range will help this process and you won’t waste anyone's time.”
Consistent messaging that focuses on what matters
Once you have the right people on board, ongoing and effective communication is key.
A massive 98% of Jeremy’s team work remotely, so face-to-face catch ups just don’t happen.
Jeremy uses multiple platforms to communicate with his team, including email, video and social media, in order to catch the attention of everyone in the business.
As a leader, his messaging focuses on three key themes:
- What are we aiming for?
- What’s your part in that journey?
- What’s my role in that journey?
“The third theme is key. It’s important to articulate, ‘here's what I'm doing to help you achieve the things that we need to achieve’ when supporting our customers and aiming to reach our goals,” believes Jeremy.
He’s also an advocate for focusing on ensuring everyone understands where the business is headed.
“Organisations that effectively communicate their mission see financial performance spikes of 42% above the industry average,”
In addition, it’s important to create a connection for your team between what they do and how that impacts the goals of the organisation.
A good way to do this is focusing on focusing on the future – not what’s already been achieved.
Jeremy believes Lead can be far more powerful drivers than Lag indicators:
- Lag indicators assess past performance. “Did I achieve the thing I wanted to?”
- Lead indicators ask what’s going to get me there? “If I do this thing, I think it's going to influence the greater goal.”
On a weekly basis, everybody at Sun Country Airlines makes a single commitment for that week: “What am I going to do to influence our lead measures?” The answer is a commitment to carve time out time for this – time that’s not just spent putting out fires and responding to the craziness of the day.
“Start at the top; and take it down a level; then down a level; and then down a level to arrive at those small steps which will lead to great leaps in performance improvement,”
Caring is all about empowerment
Many of us take for granted the relationships we developed working side by side in an office every day. With more and more teams working remotely, Jeremy shares how Sun Country encourages employees to advocate for themselves and take care of their wellbeing.
- New team members know who they can go to for help. They might not bump into the same people each day, or be able to tap someone on the shoulder to ask questions, but they know that if they say ‘I need help’, they’ll receive it.
- When customers forget their manners, employees have the right to say ‘enough is enough!’ Their managers will follow up, let them know we’re sorry that happened, and give them the tools to step away or talk to make sure they’re okay.
Watch the full Q&A session here.