The impacts of COVID-19 have been far reaching and have impacted almost every aspect of our lives. With this new normal well underway, many people find themselves living a much more substantial remote existence than they previously had. This means having to adapt and apply new ways to communicate with family, friends, and new ways to communicate, interact, and stay productive and efficient when it comes to our work and our interactions with coworkers and teammates.
Gone are the days of on-premise call centers, where support agents can sit side-by-side with their colleagues. Now, many support professionals around the world find themselves having to not only adjust to a remote work environment, but also having to potentially service more customers than ever before, helping navigate them through stressful and uncertain times and situations.
At UJET, we’ve been able to successfully transition both our own employees as well as the support teams of our customers into a remote workplace. Here are a few of the best practices we’ve witnessed first hand when it comes to managing remote customer support teams:
Invest in Cloud Technologies and Digital Tools
Right now, many businesses are looking at how they can streamline their short-term expenses. While this is certainly understandable, and something that should be done, it is important not to lose sight of the big picture and long-term strategies. Moving to the cloud and investing in digital tools can help both.
For example, leveraging cloud contact center technologies eliminates the need for expensive on-premise locations, hardware, and upkeep. Digital collaboration tools like Slack, Google Suite, and more make it easy for teams to stay connected, share information, and access the data they need in order to get their jobs done no matter where they are. All agents need is a stable internet connection and web browser, and they instantly have access to all the tools and systems they need in order to provide a great customer experience from anywhere.
Leverage the Entire Contact Center Ecosystem
Never has it been more critical for support teams to take advantage of all the different tools and technologies that a contact center has to offer. This means identifying solutions including workforce management (WFM), quality management (QM), and CRM integrations, data-driven analytics, and more in order to ensure that you have the best system in place for remote agents to succeed.
Tight CRM, WFM, and QM integrations help surface key real-time information to agents when they need it in order to deliver a better customer experience and help resolve potential issues faster, something that is needed now more than ever. WFM and QM integrations give support leaders insights into peak hours and channels, making it easier to strategically staff agents, ensuring that both customer needs are being met and that your operations are streamlined. These tools can also help monitor agent performance, identify areas of needed improvement, and track success.
Data-driven analytics, in real-time, can help support teams make smart, strategic decisions on the fly that can benefit their agents and their customers. In times when customers are concerned, anxious, and reaching out to support more than ever before, being able to make valuable business decisions based off of real-time data can be the difference between customer loyalty and churn.
Prioritize Meetings and Video
Meetings overload, it is something we’ve all suffered from at one point or another. We’ve all experienced the feeling of too many meetings and have all tried to reduce the amount of meetings we need to have or attend. However, this was all pre-COVID-19. Today, with workforces entirely remote, meetings have become essential to ensuring business continuity. For support team leaders, scheduling daily or weekly check-ins can go a long way in ensuring that your agents feel connected and comfortable while working remotely. Meetings are a great way to share information, answer questions, and to simply acknowledge and see how colleagues are doing, both personally and professionally.
And when possible, try to meet over video. Being able to see each other can go a long way in helping team members feel more connected.
Staying Together While Apart
Overcoming these unique and challenging times will take patience, persistence, and understanding that we are all in it together. This approach is critical for all remote workers, but especially customer support, who are currently tasked with trying to handle an abundance of customer inquiries while getting up and running in a remote environment. All while trying to help navigate customers through an incredibly stressful time.
However, with the right tools, technologies, resources, and procedures in place, support teams can do what they do best, no matter where they are. Provide a great experience for customers and keep them coming back.