Hiring a remote customer service team for your business can provide cost savings and productivity gains. Even though remote work comes with many benefits, it can also present many challenges for you.
To reach the goals and the results you need, you have to manage your remote customer service team effectively. Your remote workers can provide a world-class service that satisfies customers and encourages repeat business. But for this to happen, you have to courageously lead your team, so that your company has reliable, respectful customer service all day, every day.
Managing your remote customer service team can certainly be hard, but it can be done. The following four tips will help you make it happen.
#1. Hire the Right People
Remote workers need to have specific skills that set them apart from traditional employees. The ability to do remote work represents a skill on its own.
Two important factors you should look for are previous experience with remote work and ability to stay productive without supervision. If your prospective worker meets one or both of those two criteria, you can move on to ask other questions. For example, you should ask the applicant about their preferred work schedule, technical know-how, organization skills and details about their experience working from a home office.
After confirming that your candidate has the traits required for remote work, you can delve into their customer service background. Find out how they have served clients in the past and what they have done to ensure customer satisfaction.
Remember that social media is a popular channel for customer service. Nowadays every business has a social media strategy as a part of their overall marketing strategy. Consider hiring a social media manager as a part of your remote customer service team. They can focus on connecting with your audience and growing your social media community, along with resolving your customers’ issues.
#2. Choose The Right Customer Service Software
Excellent customer service depends on utilizing the right software. You need a way to coordinate the activities of your remote workers and store the knowledge gained through customer service experience.
The right help desk software can provide you with the tools you need to track both your customer issues and team performance. It should have the ability to route customer issues to agents with appropriate skills, and document conversations and research.
Your help desk tools should coordinate the activities of all your remote workers and give you a real-time overview of your team’s performance. In other words, the right software can counter any unnecessary urges you might have to micro-manage your team.
Detailed insight via dashboards and reports can help you monitor performance and track the contributions of your team members. The right software should identify bottlenecks and other potential problems with your staff, giving you a chance to resolve them before they cause significant problems. It should also give you a way to organize and profit from the knowledge gained while serving customers.
#3. Keep Your Team Productive
One of the many benefits of remote work is certainly the increased productivity of your remote employees. However, the fact that you can’t look over your workers’ shoulder might bother you. That is why you should utilize apps that will support team productivity by enhancing communication, supporting task management, and helping workers stay focused.
Consider using a dedicated project management app to manage team resources and responsibilities. Task management apps such as Trello help your team organize and finish projects on time, and keep long-range goals in sight.
It is wise to utilize a team chat app such as Google Hangouts so that your team can easily share questions and feedback. Your team can also share their experiences and report on their daily activities through group chat.
#4. Utilize Knowledge Bases
If they live in a different part of the world, your remote workers cannot always contact you for support. And even the most experienced workers might come across an issue that requires additional research. This is why you should use a knowledge base to improve the speed and quality of service your team provides. After all, your customers always expect to get satisfactory answers from your customer service team.
A knowledge base also provides a way for agents to escalate calls to workers with higher skill levels without losing track of the issue. Even when agents reside in different time zones, they will see the escalated support tickets in their queue as soon as they log in, so customers still get prompt service.
When your team has gathered a vast repository of information, consider creating internal wikis to speed the resolution of common issues. You can also use the information to create FAQs and other self-service options accessible to customers on your company website.
When you use marketing to attract your customers, you show them why they should use your products or services. With customer service, you give them reasons they should come back for more. Efficient customer service helps you retain the customers you gained with your marketing efforts. In turn, having satisfied customers and a reputation for excellent customer service helps you acquire new customers.
With the right tools and strategies, you can create a successful remote customer service team that will help your customers and grow your business. Keep in mind that your remote customer service team can work as good, if not better, than an in-house team if you manage it correctly. Use the tips you just read to meet the challenges of remote work while improving the quality of service your company provides.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world. She spends her free time trying out new recipes or reading Scandinavian crime novels. Feel free to reach her on Twitter.