Next generation technologies are revolutionizing the labor market again. We are witnessing incredible, fantastic transformations regarding work processes. Fortunately, they are all good for us.
A decade ago, could you have imagined that you will be able to do your full-time job from the comfort of your home? Remote work sounds and feels amazing, right? Now we can both produce value and relax at our houses. And in this period of crisis due to the COVID-19 outbreaks, remote work seems to be a winning solution.
However, this creates new challenges for work from home customer service agents. It raises the question of how to work from home as a customer service agent efficiently? Representatives are facing major issues in terms of discipline and productivity. Here are some tips & tricks on how to make your remote customer service top-notch!
Let’s check them out!
1. Setting up the ideal work environment
This might be one of the most important of all the work from home tips. Your workspace is a corner of your home where you will spend all your working hours. Therefore, make sure to set it up right.
a. Get The Necessary Equipment
First, your workspace needs to be comfortable. Therefore, investing in the necessary equipment, such as your chair or definitely a work table, is a smart move.
If you are an employee, your company can provide the necessary equipment. You can even define it in your contract if you think it is a good idea. If you are a freelance worker, you probably have that all prepared.
b. Create A Pleasant Atmosphere
Customer service agents have a much higher return and work more efficiently in an area where they feel happy. That means putting around you anything that creates a pleasant and positive atmosphere. Now you can even put a picture of a funny penguin on your screensaver and no one will bother you.
However, if your company also provides customer support through video calls then your customer support workspace needs to look professional.
c. Eliminate Distractions
A crucial workspace tip for a successful work from home customer service agent is that it needs to be a quiet area. Therefore, a place in your home where there will be no kids or pets is essential. You probably prefer your customers not to hear a lot of distracting noise in the background.
It is true, you have the freedom to put a picture of the funny penguin. However, the trick here is to be aware of the potential distractions that you need to avoid, as they can decrease your productivity.
Therefore, don’t add stuff that makes you too happy or depressed. It is essential to balance your excitement to a level that enables you to have a proper focus on your tasks.
You should avoid leaving food or snacks nearby. They will only make you want a bite or at least occupy your mind.
d. Create An Encouraging Environment
Feel free to decorate your walls or table with motivational quotes from idols you admire. Whether it is a business or a science person, they have a word or two on success.
Think about who inspires you the most to reach the maximum of your possibilities and you will find the answer on whose quote you want.
There are many times we forget about the reasons why we are doing something. Having a good reminder close by to you can’t do any harm.
I suggest writing something such as the quote from famous American entrepreneur Jim Rohn, “Either you run the day or the day runs you” or journalist George Lorimer’s thought “You've got to get up every morning with determination if you're going to go to bed with satisfaction.”
2. How To Create A Winning Work Schedule
Now let’s see how to actually get the job done!
a. Stick To Your Work Hours
Setting real work hours is necessary for reaching optimal work from home productivity. Even though you might work in a different time zone, you should work within your customers’ business hours. However, if your company operates globally or 24/7, having customer service representatives from another side of the world can be extremely beneficial.
Feel free to replicate the traditional work schedule from 9 am - 5 pm if that looks manageable to you. The only thing that matters here is to stick to it.
b. Get Flexible
Work from home requires a lot of flexibility, too. That is something that attracts us the most to remote work.
However, it is a double-edged sword. Sometimes, tasks are urgent and you need to hop on a certain call instead of replying to emails.
Also, the more flexible you are, the more diligent you need to be in creating and respecting your work schedule as well as completing remote work tasks.
The only thing that matters is to make sure that your customers are content.
If you work in different time-zones, then sometimes you will need to make some adjustments, such as waking up earlier or sleeping longer because you stayed late.
c. Optimize Your To-Do list
Having clear guidelines on when to call it a day is relevant for your work from home productivity as well as your resting time. You need to be realistic about your abilities and create to-do lists that will enable you to better track your work from home results.
There is something extremely fulfilling when you get to the point to mark a task complete. Therefore, make sure to work toward that direction.
Work is easier to say than to do. That is why it is important to have a list of tasks that will remind you of your plans.
It is a good move to make a weekly schedule that includes your to-do list as well as your work hours. Tailor it to your needs and possibilities and again stick to it.
d. Beat Laziness
The only thing left is to remember not to be lazy, as this is your worst enemy. If you need help with staying motivated just think about why you need this job and how it is to be successful in doing it.
3. Finding the right headset
Quality headphones are a backbone of top customer service. Customers don’t like calling a customer support line that sounds like a zoo. If you are a work from home customer service agent, you especially need to follow this rule. Therefore, you need to make certain steps to ensure that a situation like this never happens.
When buying a work headset check the:
- Connectivity: Check if the headset plug in is compatible with the device you use. If you have an older model of phone or laptop, you might need a specific extension.
- Answering mechanism: The best feature would be to answer automatically when a customer calls. However, having an answer button makes this whole process fast, too. And maybe more suitable for you as you have more control over it. Additionally, having a mic near your mouth is the best way to use it.
- Sound quality: You can’t answer a customer’s question if you can’t hear them, or they’re having trouble hearing you. In this instance, having headphones that block the spatial sound helps in resolving this issue. Therefore, proper sound quality is a must-have.
- The wireless option: If work from home agents are expected to move around then having a wireless option would be ideal. Bluetooth headsets are the most popular on the market these days. There are many quite affordable designs, too. Additionally, this type of headsets eliminates the possibility of getting tangled up in cords and cables. This can only stress you more, making it difficult to focus on the customer.
- Comfort and fit: Lastly, your headset needs to fit well on your head and to be comfy. Therefore, pick the right size and some nicely cushioned headphones.
Now, it’s time to go headset hunting. However, if you already have one with all these features, well done!
4. Which Advanced Tech Tools You Should Embrace
There are many work from home platform solutions out there. They help with task management and enhance overall work from home productivity. Some apps enable you to schedule tasks, others have a weekly or monthly report dashboard. However, the best SaaS solutions are probably in the customer service industry.
Now you have a helpdesk, which is one omnichannel helpdesk software that covers all the customer support needs. The terrific features such as AI chatbot, ticketing, and task management enhance customer experience significantly. Imagine having them all in one place! It is a 100% formula for the highest productivity of work from home customer service agents!
5. Compatible work devices
To reach maximum efficiency, today a quality helpdesk software mostly requires the latest versions of operating systems. Check if the laptop which you intend to use for customer service supports the company software. Luckily, there are those great helpdesk solutions that can be accessed via phone, too. Now a work from home customer service agent can answer a customer query at any time and anywhere.
6. Having a winning daily-routine
Start a day with a cup of freshly brewed coffee, some yoga pose or whatever boosts your energy levels. When you feel good, you will work well. But having a morning routine can serve you as a work indicator, too. Therefore, it is important to do something that makes you want to sit on your office chair and stay there for a couple of hours.
The same way your morning routine signals the start of the day, an after-work routine can signal the fun and relaxation time you deserve. Whether you prefer closing all your emails, listening to your favorite song or going for a walk, you are not wrong. All of them are good choices.
7. Incorporate Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is imperative to a successful and fulfilling life. This tip is something that you can not skip. You can enjoy quick pleasures such as fast food in the short run. However, in the long term, you will face consequences.
a. Check What Is On The Healthy Food Menu
Unfortunately, this is one of the working from home tips that people so often forget. While being strictly focused on delivering their work and sometimes overwhelmed with the sudden heavy workload, remote workers forget to eat healthy. Unfortunately, they buy something fast due to their lack of time.
The truth is, we have full access to the kitchen, therefore we should use it wisely. Eat an apple or orange rather than chips and leftovers of pizza. This new study has shown that food rich in nutrients is directly linked to high productivity. Therefore, make sure to eat something fruity!
b. Why You Need Drinks That Are High In Nutrients
First, stay hydrated. Water is a necessity, especially if you sit a lot during a day. Next, put in a blender a mix of fruits that are rich in nutrients such as mango, banana, or apple. Don’t hesitate to add those rich in antioxidants as well, such as blueberries and cherries. They will give you that extra kick to your work practice and make you feel refreshed. A great choice for small breaks!
c. Have A Good Posture
Your posture probably suffers the most while working from home. When you focus on work completely, it is sometimes hard to remember to check if your back is straight and your arms are nearly reaching a 90-degree angle.
Train yourself to correct your posture every couple of minutes. This working from home tip can save you from a lot of health problems such as back pain or swollen limbs, making it extremely relevant for quality work time and your overall health!
d. Physical Activity In Your Free Time
As a remote worker, you surely sit a lot. Thus, your spine, as well as muscles, are in danger. You risk losing muscle strength and optimal blood pressure due to the lack of physical activity.
That is why it is important to exercise or go running before or after work. You can even dance, just do something!
e. Stretch & Exercise While Working
Typing a lot and moving a mouse up and down are all repetitive movements that burden your body. Stretch your arms and legs from time to time while sitting or simply get up for a minute. Move even your fingers and your heart will thank you!
8. Keeping the responsiveness rate high
When you have a great helpdesk, with all the tools in one place, you can rest assured that you can maximize your work from home productivity. The only thing left is to manage your responsibilities.
To reach and maintain high customer support responsiveness it is necessary to stop:
- Making excuses: There are no excuses for the best agents. They are there when their customers need them.
- Relying only on your memory: The human brain is marvelous, however not perfect. You often find yourself forgetting what you should do and what should’ve been done. A great helpdesk platform can help you significantly by allowing you to manage tickets, assign tasks, and oversee their progress.
- Having a messy email inbox: Customer support inbox is known to be overflown with messages. However, If your email inbox is constantly crowded without any categorization, the risk of overseeing an important email is very high. Therefore, make a decision regarding each customer request and rank them according to their importance and urgency.
- Setting up the wrong expectations: It is a fact that customers always expect a rapid response. But we all know that sometimes that is impossible to deliver. However, customers appreciate if you inform them in advance that it will take you a bit longer to get back to them. However, again, by using a healpdesk you don’t need to worry about these kinds of problems. You can set up an automatic reply suitable for any busy situation.
9. Use the most suitable tone
Well, if you mastered all the above mentioned tools and tactics but your communication skills are below a basic level, then your work from home as a customer service agent career will be over fast. To improve your communication skills check the winning tips below.
a. Use A Customer-Centric Approach
The customer is a hero of any product-related story. Successful work from home customer service agents are kind and focused on delivering a solution to a certain problem rather than persuading customers that they are wrong. They are never wrong. And you need to keep that in mind in any inconvenient situation that may occur.
b. Relying On Empathy And Avoid Apathy
Sometimes customers are aggravated and brusque as the problem with your product is stopping them from accomplishing some important work tasks. Thus, it is crucial to put yourself in their situation to understand the problem completely. How do they feel? What do they expect to hear from a customer service representative? That will help you and them better resolve the issue and have the customer experience everyone aims to get.
c. Remembering To Always Apologize
Whatever happens, remember to always apologize! It doesn’t matter who is the culprit, the customer is always right. They prefer hearing you understand and address correctly their problems rather than leaving them with empty hands. Be there for them, and they will stay your customers for long!
Now it’s time to test your new tools and tricks for work from home customer service agents!