The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work beyond measure. With social distancing and travel restrictions in place, organizations have been forced to look at different ways of operating their businesses. Work-from-home employees are the new normal.
The customer service industry has been impacted by the move to remote working and this change is not without its challenges. Here are ten tips to help you manage your remote customer service team.
Move to the Cloud
When your customer service agents are working away from the office, it’s important that everyone is working from a robust cloud-based system. This enables your remote team to always be on the same page by accessing the same customer data in real time. Moving to the cloud also eliminates the need to purchase onsite equipment and make ongoing upgrades. Having your business on the cloud will allow you to scale up your operations as your company grows.
It’s important to keep in touch with you team and this should be done with a daily check-in. The best way to communicate is face-to-face via video but other ways include phone, email, and Slack. Popular communications platforms for remote teams include Zoom, Google’s Team Hangouts and Microsoft Teams. Find out how your team members are doing and set the agenda for the coming days.
If you want to increase the engagement of your team you should focus less on what is being done each and every minute and more on what results are being achieved. This will not only result in better outcomes but will increase employee motivation and engagement.
Keep Your Data Secure
With more and more employees working in remote locations, companies need to tighten up on their cyber-security. Measures that can be taken include only allowing data storage on the company cloud system and not allowing connections on public WiFi.
Hire People You Trust
Managing your remote customer service team will be a whole lot easier when you hire trustworthy people. If you find yourself continually checking on one of your team then ask yourself if it is because you do not trust him or her. Hire people you can trust from the outset and you will save yourself a lot of time and worry.
Offer Help When Needed
Just because you don’t hear from your customer service representatives doesn’t mean they don’t need your help from time to time. Unexpected problems do arise, and they should know that you are always available to provide help and support when needed. Look out for the danger signs of underperformance or low team morale.
Don’t Forget Employee Ambitions
If you’ve recently moved your employees to remote working remember that they are still the same people that you hired for a job in the office. Make sure you treat them like any other employees, not as freelancers or contractors. Ensure you have career progression plans in place and offer the same opportunities as your office based staff.
Use Productivity Tools
According to some reports, working remotely can increase productivity by up to 43%. In order to boost your team’s productivity, consider using tools such as Slack, Zoom, InVision, GitHub, Google Drive and Trello.
The nature of working from home requires a higher degree of flexibility from you towards your staff. Children may need attending too, meals are eaten at different times etc. As long as the key working hours are covered and tasks and goals are being met, be flexible when dealing with your team’s needs.
Recognize Your Team
During this period of change and disruption the need for employee recognition has never been greater. Recognizing a customer service agent not only motivates the employee but reinforces the behaviors you want to see in other team members. Hold a weekly or monthly session over Zoom specifically to show your appreciation and recognize those that have exceeded the customers’ expectations by going the extra mile.
By investing time in managing your remote customer service team you will find they may well become your most productive employees. Not only that, but you will also have created a loyal team of dedicated professionals who provide great customer experiences in a safe and secure environment.