When I think back to Monday 23rd March when we were first told “where possible, we should work from home”, I had never imagined that as I write this12 weeks later there is still no sign of when I’ll next be in the Phase 3 Manchester office.
Before the COVID-19 lockdown my ‘normal’ working week included 2 days working from home and 2 days in the office; a perfect balance which worked well for me. Alongside that, as a Customer Success Manager my role involves a lot of contact with clients including on site meetings around the UK. I would often be travelling up and down the country on trains, staying in hotels, and meeting new, existing, and prospective clients – how that has changed!
So, like many other people I am now working from home full time, and if I’m honest it has its pros and cons but what it has taught me is that we have to make it work the best we can in our respective roles, for our clients, our team and the company.
Early on my biggest concern was how working from home would impact on my relationship with our clients, particularly those with whom the relationship was in its early stages and also where a new enquiry would come in, where under normal circumstances I would arrange to ‘go out’ and meet with them on site to better understand their requirements. Why was I worried? Would there even be any ‘new’ enquiries or would existing clients need our services in these unprecedented times?
At Phase 3 we pride ourselves on putting the customer first by keeping in touch; so early on an email or a phone call just to let them know we were here if they needed us; no one knew what the impact of this virus might mean for individuals or companies, including our own. As the days passed my inbox was quickly filling up with requests for calls and meetings with existing clients, and alongside this I was picking up lots of calls as ‘new’ enquiries for our services.
Whatever the technology, be it Teams, Skype, Zoom and whatever else is available, there is a way to stay in touch and ‘meet’ people. For me, at first there was the apprehension around turning on the camera on my laptop when I’d never met ‘the clients’ before, but then I thought apart from shaking hands what’s so different from walking into a room for a meeting with them for the first time? Perhaps the fact that I am working from my spare bedroom is the biggest difference but with the clever technology giving me different ‘surroundings’ to choose from I can be in a different ‘office’ every other day. Technology to the rescue!
It’s hard to believe the amount of times over the last 12 weeks I have introduced Phase 3 to a new client, got to know about the client company, their experiences, HR Tech problems, payroll issues, talked through requirements and completed onboarding, and all done as virtual meetings. Relationships with our existing clients have flourished; regular catch-up calls and ‘meetings’ have ensured projects are on track and they have all the support as and when they need it, from Phase 3.
Clients are happy with the approach and the positive feedback we have had about the way we work from people we have only ever met in a virtual meeting has been amazing, and also very reassuring in that we know our team are delivering a great service – Customer Success!
The article was written by Marilyn Summers, Customer Success Manager – Services at Phase 3.