Research has shown that remote customer service employees demonstrate increased levels of productivity. A study published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics revealed that participants were able to handle 13% more requests per day when working remotely.
Aside from increasing productivity, remote working also lowers overheads. However, these gains don’t mean much if your remote customer service team is not managed effectively.
While this can be challenging, especially in the beginning, if yours is one of the millions of companies implementing remote team management, you might already have run into some teething issues. Such as communications issues, frustrated employees, and disgruntled customers.
Fortunately, managing remote CS teams doesn’t have to be hard. By following the tips listed below, your company will be able to give customer service management the tools and strategies they need to effectively lead their teams.
1. Don’t Rely on Email for All Communications
Email can be an essential team communication tool, but it shouldn’t be the only tool.
Relying solely on email can cause support tickets to fall through the cracks. One of the main email drawbacks is it can be cumbersome for group interaction. What’s more, it provides no physical link between communication and a task.
To enhance fast and effective group communication, many companies utilize platforms such as Slack. Managers and at-home customer service reps can often communicate more effectively on a chat platform than by email.
Another application type that can be very useful for remote teams is project management software. These platforms allow communications and projects or tasks to be seamlessly tied together so that everyone knows who is working on what.
2. Stimulate Team Unity
Unsurprisingly, one of the main drawbacks to remote working is loneliness. To keep your team motivated and satisfied it is imperative that you work to promote team unity.
This can increase happiness levels among your remote customer support employees. It can also enhance their quality of work.
A unified team is more likely to go the extra mile to collaborate and co-operate than one which is divided by enmity or apathy.
A great way to build team unity is by encouraging non-work related banter. Allowing team members to get to know each other will promote inter-personal bonds and a feeling of unity.
Chat platforms are an ideal place for this.
3. Build a Positive Team Culture
Besides working to create unity within remote customer service teams, CS management should also take steps to create a positive team culture.
The lack of face-to-face interaction on remote teams can sometimes promote harsh attitudes. This can feed a group culture of gossiping and unconstructive criticism.
It goes without saying that this type of environment is not conducive to productivity or collaboration. To avoid this, companies with remote teams need to ensure that positive company culture is in place and is adhered to.
4. Leverage Customer Communications Data
One of the main challenges that CS workers face is inadequate access to customer data.
Research shows that 99 percent of customers feel that being able to talk to someone knowledgeable is key to good customer service.
This means that at-home customer service reps need to have access to things like product and service information. Additionally, they also need access to customer data and communications.
If they are unable to access previous customer communication, this can lead to customer frustration and can negatively impact customer experience.
One way to give reps access to customer communications is through automated customer communications software. Automated CCM applications streamline communications with customers and houses historic data in one place (as opposed to multiple platforms).
5. Put Performance Metrics and Rewards in Place
A common concern that companies have about remote teams is that working from home will devolve into “slacking from home”.
One way to promote high levels of productivity in remote customer service teams is to implement performance metrics. These should be visible and serve as a source of motivation. Leader boards are a great way to do this.
To further encourage productivity, companies can also consider tying rewards to leaderboard results. Rewards do not have to be high, but they should be worthwhile enough that an employee is motivated to compete for them.
6. Hire for Remote Experience
Another way to ensure that at-home customer service reps prioritize their work is to hire for remote experience.
Candidates who have prior experience working from home are more likely to be adjusted to managing their own time. They will probably also be more adept at completing workloads without supervision.
Take note that strong working from home experience is also preferably to nomial experience. For example, a candidate who has held a fulltime remote position that is task-based (without set monthly remuneration) will likely have a more developed remote work “muscle” than one who has occasionally worked Fridays from home.
7. Implement Agent-Level Feedback
Our final tip for effective customer service management for remote teams is to implement agent-level feedback.
Simply put, this gives customers the ability to rate their experience with individual agents. Agent-level feedback is a useful tool for monitoring individual agents’ quality of service. It can also provide key metrics for improving customer experience.
Enhance Customer Experience to Provide Stellar Remote Customer Service
Providing stellar remote customer service boils down to effective coordination. Implement the tips on our list to boost team management, and with that, customer experience.
Is your company is gunning to offer the best CX possible? If so, customer experience automation is something else we would recommend.
Automated CX allows companies to map customer journeys with ease, access customer analytics, monitor engagement, manage communications, and more. If you would like to try out customer experience automation for yourself, take advantage of our free demo.
Contact us if you have any questions and we will be happy to help.
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