7 Ways to Effectively Manage Your Remote Customer Service Team
A remote customer service team can offer you a lot of advantages. You’ll lower your expenses and you’ll be able to hire from a global pool of talented candidates. Plus, by hiring team members in different time zones, you’ll be able to provide your customers with 24 hour service.
Of course, effectively managing your remote customer service team is not always easy. There are certain challenges that come with having a remote team and you’ll need to address. Here are some tips that will help you offer the best support to your remote customer service team.
1. Design an Onboarding Experience
Onboarding new employees is even more challenging when you can’t actually meet them in person. You’ll need to put in a bit of extra effort to help them feel at home in their new role.
Consider designing an onboarding experience with a sequence of steps you can repeat for any new employees. This can include videos for them to watch, tutorials on how to do the job, meetings with important team members and small demo assignments to help them practice the relevant skills.
Your onboarding experience will be unique to your organization, but it should be centered around the needs of the employee. Make it easy for brand new remote employees to get to know how the job works, understand what to do, connect with others who can help them.
2. Give Them The Tools They Need
There are many great tools out there that will make it easier for your remote customer service team to do their job well. Take the time to find the tool that works best for your team and make sure everyone knows how to use all the features.
For example, a great collaborative communication tool will allow your team to carry on conversations in various channels in a streamlined, searchable chat. This is much more effective than emailing back and forth.
Flock also has video conferencing and screen sharing features, for when you need to explain something face-to-face or convey your message visually. Add in a suite of productivity features like to-do lists, reminders and team notes and it’s a very effective tool for getting things done together.
Another great example is the noise cancelling software Krisp. If your customer service team is handling calls from customers from their home offices, it sounds unprofessional to have noise such as dogs barking, children shouting or a TV playing in the background.
Krisp is a clever app that uses a sophisticated AI to differentiate between background noise and the human voice and eliminate any unwanted sounds. It will make your customer service team sound like they are speaking from within a perfectly insulated, pristine soundbooth, even if they are in a noisy coffee shop or home office.
3. Keep Everything Cloud-Based
When your customer service team is working remotely, they will need access to all important documents and information, updated in real time. To do this effectively, you need a cloud-based system.
All documents, files and information should be centralized in one easily accessible place. Everyone on your team should be able to login and access the information they need within minutes and update it quickly.
When selecting a cloud-based document storage system, pay close attention to privacy. Customer service agents are often dealing with private customer information, so the platform you choose should have robust security and privacy features.
4. Check In With Your Team Daily
It can be highly effective for your team to have a quick 10-15 minute Zoom meeting every morning to kick things off and figure out priorities for the day. It doesn’t have to be a long meeting, just enough time to identify the most important tasks and set a goal for the day.
It’s a chance to ask everyone what they are working on and find out what they need to perform their best. You can also answer any clarifying questions or deal with any bottlenecks that may be holding your team back.
5. Build Engagement Within Your Team
It’s hard to do team building remotely. When your employees are flung across the globe, you don’t get the type of natural social interaction that takes place in an office. As a result, your team ends up only seeing each other as names on a screen.
However, it is possible to build engagement within a remote team. It simply requires a bit of creativity. For example, why not host a Zoom Happy Hour every Friday? Your team can play online games like Among Us or Jackbox, compete in a virtual quiz or simply have a few beers and chat.
Also, create a space within your workplace communication app for your team to talk about random non-work related topics such as their family, hobbies, what they did on the weekend, etc. Encouraging these conversations will remind everyone that they are working with real people and will make them feel more connected.
6. Focus on Quality Responses
There is a lot of pressure on customer service reps to do things as quickly as possible, but speed is not the most important factor. Instead, train your customer service reps to offer quality responses that make your customers feel engaged.
In a study by Gallup, bank customers stated that factors such as “courtesy” and “willingness to help” were far more important than the speed at which they were served.
Customers who felt that the bank offered extremely quick service were six times more likely to be highly engaged. But those who got exceptionally courteous and caring service were NINE times more likely to be engaged.
Other “people” factors that were also found to improve customer engagement more than speed were a customer service agent’s sincerity or their ability to explain the bank’s policies and procedures. Let your customer service team know that it’s okay to take a little longer to help a customer, as long as they are showing the customer that they truly care about them.
7. Reward a Job Well Done
According to a study cited in the Harvard Business Review and conducted by the company OGO, 82% of employed Americans felt their supervisors didn’t recognize them enough for their contributions.
Also, 40% of Americans in the study said that they would put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often.
This means that recognizing your employees for a job well done is one of the simplest ways to boost their morale and encourage them to go the extra mile. Although you can’t hand them a gift personally or take them out to lunch, there are many ways you can reward them remotely.
Here are some ideas:
- Give them a gift card for at-home food delivery, so they can treat themselves to a delicious meal.
- Upgrade their home office by sending a comfy chair or an ergonomic keyboard.
- Gift your team with access to a training course that will help them improve their skills.
- Offer extra vacation days so they can take a break.
- Arrange a surprise delivery of flowers or an edible gift basket to their home.
Managing your remote team effectively means supporting them so they can do their best work helping your customers. It involves thinking about their needs, then putting the right solutions in place to help them do their best.
According to a Temkin Group study, 79% of organizations with engaged employees had a noticeably better customer service experience than those who didn’t. When you show your remote customer service team that you care about them, they will be better able to extend that care to the customer.
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