A new evolution phase in the labor field is at its peak. Remote work, especially freelancing, has been around for many years, however, many companies haven’t realized its benefits. But recently remote work has become a necessity for many companies, largely due to the pandemic. However, you should shift to remote working if at all possible, as it has been shown to deliver better results.
A Pennsylvania State University study found that remote employees are more productive and have a better work-life balance. One Stanford study backed these results, finding that remote workers are 13% more productive and that they even work 9.5 hours more than their office counterparts.
These stats are very persuasive regarding the remote work shift. They are especially relevant to the customer service industry, which is known for its large departments. Imagine if you could avoid paying the rent for that massive office space. Sounds tempting, right?
But this revolutionary labor trend brings new challenges, of which efficient customer service management may be the most demanding.
Delivering top-notch customer support was always a big task. Is it harder to do it now?
Let’s figure that out! Here are the top nine considerations to ensure successful customer service management:
1. Give the right people a chance
Hiring the right people is at the core of successful customer service management. Not everyone can be a support agent that delivers outstanding results.
Your remote customer service superstar should be:
- Self-motivated: Remote work world requires self-starters, the hardworking individuals who can deliver great results without constant supervision.
- A great communicator: Certainly the most important customer support skill is communication. Your agent needs to be able to effectively communicate with all kinds of customer personalities and effectively field tricky questions.
- Disciplined: A great employee can deliver quality work even by following their own work rules. For a remote position, it is crucial that your new team member can create task schedules that work well for them and adhere to the company’s deadlines.
- A team player: Being a team player has always been critical, but it is even more important with remote work, as you need to train your employees to respect others despite being miles away.
- Positive: No one wants to talk with a grumpy person who doesn’t want to help fix their problem. Your agent should be a cheerful person with a smile that shines through the phone. They will try to turn any situation into a positive outcome. That is only how you can present your company in the best light.
- Willing to learn: Due to multiple tech transformations in work processes, life-long learning is becoming the norm. Thus, find someone who is focused on constant personal development and is willing to put in the work to improve your company’s results.
- Reliable: You want someone who you can rely on. There are company crises and urgent customer problems that require maximum dedication.
- Comfortable using a computer and other technology: Today, customer service agents don’t just answer the phone. They write emails, chat live, and in some cases even use video calls to communicate with customers. Therefore, they should be able to use laptops, tablets and smartphones, as well as software programs.
As you can see, remote working is a skill unto itself, meaning you need to add one more item to your hiring criteria.
2. Have regular meetings
You can’t be sure if something is working well if there is no proper reporting system. Now there may not be office meetings and chat around the water coolers, however, there are numerous powerful alternatives. Video call is one of the most efficient customer service management tools that helps you track progress and keep everyone in the loop with upcoming processes and completed tasks.
It is a new way of face-to-face meeting that provides better results than a phone call. It is estimated that the average attention span in the video call lasts 12 minutes longer than in audio-only calls.
To get the best of video meetings you can use platforms such as Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom. However, you should be more careful if you decide to go with Zoom due to its multiple privacy concerns. Video tools can be quite useful for tutorials when you need to teach them something, too!
Now you just need to create a meeting schedule and you are well on your way to delivering top-notch customer support management! Having a touch-base meeting once a week is a good starting point for reviewing your employee’s performance, workload, and upcoming projects.
3. Unite your customer support team
One-on-one meetings work well when you want to get an insight into what each agent is doing and how they are performing. However, you are all still part of one company and one team, so introducing team members and keeping them connected is critical to your team’s cohesiveness and success. You can create employee online profiles, have team video meetings, or mark team building dates where you all can focus on having a bit of fun and getting to know each other. Remember, a team can’t deliver exceptional results if its team members don’t cooperate.
4. Define your target group clearly
Good customer service management has a complete understanding of the audience they serve, so that they can pass that knowledge to their agents. It is critical that all your agents know to whom they are talking, so that they can adjust their tone, choose the right words, and reply to requests in a timely manner.
Your customer can live in Australia and your agent in West Asia, so it is crucial that you establish appropriate response times and track those guidelines, otherwise you could lose your customers’ trust and ultimately their business. To make sure your customer support agents completely understand your buyer persona, you can include that in the agents’ onboarding training. This will ensure that their interactions with customers will lead to profitable solutions.
5. Keep productivity levels high with automation
Because your agents are not in one place, it can be harder to have full visibility into, and control over, their productivity levels. And yet, one unresponded email in the customer service industry costs a lot. To avoid this unfortunate situation, it is very useful to have some kind of warnings and notifications system that will mark bad work and boost the responsiveness rate. The Helpy team has recognized this need and developed customizable “triggers” that can notify you about anything you need. By using these triggers, you can reward good work and note any deficiencies to eliminate your customer inquiry backlog and improve your team’s overall efficiency.
6. Install the right customer support management software
Without a helpdesk software to help you coordinate all customer support activities, your remote team efforts could quickly collapse. It may be impossible to deliver the bare minimum of customer service management if there is no online tool for communication, ticketing, analytics, and team management.
In the remote customer support world, without a software, you would need to call agents any time a new request comes in, just to delegate a task and inform others who are working on it. And that is just one of the obligations. I think that there is no need to explain how time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient this would be. Instead, get yourself a helpdesk software that will do all this for you!
The right customer support management software provides a dashboard where you can find all the answers. You can easily assign tasks by simply clicking a couple of buttons that will also notify employees at the same time. In addition, the best customer support management dashboard will have an analytics tool that enables you to have a complete insight into ticket status and progress.
Thus, when purchasing the customer support management software make sure that is has a customizable dashboard that provides reports such as:
- Number of incoming requests
- Number of resolved issues
- Work hours done by each agent
- High-priority issues that need to be addressed
- Tasks assignments of the team leader or manager (you)
Don’t leave any room for error – install an advanced customer support management software today! To keep your company safe, you may need to consider getting a private-cloud platform that keeps your enormous amount of sensitive customer data far from malicious intentions.
7. Create a knowledge base
You know there are regular customer questions and those tricky ones that require a bit more research. Not even customer support pros can answer those that easily. Plus, now your agents can’t just walk around to your office and ask for help, thus you risk reducing your great response rate due to a lack of knowledge. This situation requires an effective solution that will facilitate and speed up the overall response process. That solution is a knowledge base!
A thorough knowledge base is customer saver. There you would store articles answering all potential customer issues that can arise. With it, your agents will need to type a question or keyword in the search box, and voilà, the answer will pop-up and no one will need to call you in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, that can happen if you have a team from a different continent.
Having a knowledge base has one more key advantage. It can be a self-service resource that is always available to your customers as well. Now your customers can find an answer without even needing to contact your agents. How terrific that is, right?
8. Build customer trust with Live Chat
There is something special about having a Live Chat feature available to your customers. Aside from the fact that it improves your company’s credibility and reputation, it creates the feeling that you are always there for your customers. They prefer knowing that you are constantly available and that there will be qualified people who can help them resolve their issue. Live Chat is the best tool for gaining customers’ long-term trust.
9. Offer 24/7 coverage with an AI Chatbot and multiple teams
The best 24/7 employee you will ever have is an AI Chatbot. It remembers what to do the first time you give it instructions and delivers the exact service you and your customers expect each time, all day and every day. However, an AI Chatbot can’t deal with more complex queries that require the critical thinking skills of the human brain.
That’s why having team members located around the world can be your biggest advantage, despite sometimes being difficult to manage. By having two teams to cover the whole day, you literally support your customers at any time they need you. They appreciate having the option to contact you at any time because you never know when problems will arise.