Customer Service Peer Group Web Meeting 

Fostering Customer Care Employee Engagement in the Wake of COVID-19 
August 20, 2020 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM 
Glean strategies and practices for engendering and sustaining customer care team members' emotional connectedness to their mission during this challenging time. 

The health and safety of our members is the UWEBC’s top priority. UW–Madison is monitoring the COVID-19 situation in collaboration with local, state and federal agencies. Based on campus' guidance, this meeting will be held via web only to allow our members a convenient and safe way to attend.

Now that most customer care organizations have significantly scaled back onsite work and settled into a work-from-home routine (even as they contemplate a gradual return to onsite operations), it’s more important than ever for leaders to actively foster engagement in the daily lives of employees. Given that it will not be business as usual for quite some time and uncertainty abounds on many levels, how can leaders help their frontline care professionals stay focused, connected and mentally healthy in the face of such rapid and significant change?

Even before the unique challenges of the current moment entered the picture, the importance of delivering excellent customer experiences had become magnified. Customer expectations have risen and service interactions have increased in complexity such that the typical customer service associate's job has become more demanding. They need to think and know more. They must draw more heavily on creativity to solve novel problems, cope with ambiguity and demonstrate empathy. Gone are the days of routine work that could be reduced to a set of instructions. Today's customer service associates are increasingly knowledge workers.

Performing this kind of work successfully demands more than just going through the motions. It often necessitates making extra effort over and above what is strictly required – going the extra mile. The willingness to exert this kind of discretionary effort requires an employee who is engaged in their work and motivated to succeed.

Employee engagement, however, has been a perennial challenge for many customer service organizations. According to research by the Gallup organization, engagement levels among service employees are among the lowest of any occupation they measured – and have declined in recent years.

What strategies and practices aimed at fostering and sustaining customer service associate engagement are customer care leaders and organizations leaning into during the current COVID-19 period? What are "timeless" approaches they have employed before and will continue after the pandemic is behind us? Join us for this interactive webcast to find out and discover new ideas for strengthening the engagement of your customer care associates by learning about the strategies and practices of several contact center leaders.

We’ll begin by hearing from Tom Laird, host of the weekly podcast Advice from a Call Center Geek, author of More Advice from a Call Center Geek and founder/CEO of the contact center outsource services provider Expivia. Tom has written and spoken extensively about customer care culture and employee engagement and will share approaches he has used with success. Then, you’ll have the opportunity to listen in on a discussion among three experienced customer care leaders from UWEBC member companies that have prioritized associate engagement – and participate by asking your questions via live chat. Our panel will feature Carrie Toth of Brady Corporation, Maureen Lewandowski of Delta Dental of Wisconsin and Jim LeMere of Northwestern Mutual.


Agenda Items:
9:00 AM Welcome and Opening Remarks
9:15 AM Ways to Engage Your Associates and Build a Winning Culture in Your Care Center (or at home!)
  Thomas Laird - CEO, Expivia Interaction Marketing Group, creator and host of Advice from a Call Center Geek podcast
10:00 AM Q&A Discussion with Thomas Laird
10:20 AM Break
10:30 AM Customer Care Leader "Fishbowl" Discussion
  Jim LeMere – VP Client Services, Northwestern Mutual

Maureen Lewandowski – VP Claim Operations, Delta Dental of Wisconsin

Carrie Toth – Senior Director Customer Operations, Brady Corporation

11:30 AM Q&A Discussion with Customer Care Leader Panelists
11:50 AM Closing Remarks
12:00 PM Adjourn
Events Team, , 


UW–Madison is monitoring the COVID-19 situation in collaboration with local, state and federal agencies. Based on the campus’ guidance, the UWEBC will be adjusting our events scheduled through 2020.

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