More and more companies are exploring the option of remote customer service. Some have a flexible policy that allows support agents to work from home whenever they choose, while others are shifting towards a fully remote model where all employees never need to come into an office at all.
Working from home is a great way to save time, money and be closer to your family. But like any job, there are some trade-offs that need to be considered when it comes down to the details of working remotely.
If you’re considering remote or virtual workers, you might be asking how you’ll be able to provide consistent customer service while your staff isn’t in the office. In this post, we’ll go through the dos and don’ts of providing exceptional customer service while working from home, as well as some best practices to help you along the way.
The DOs of Customer Service
DO set clear guidelines for employees
Working from home is a necessary and effective option for customer service agents, but it needs to be executed with care. Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) help keep things running smoothly in the office by standardizing tasks like project deadlines or one-on-one meetings no matter who’s on staff that day.
A clear and well-defined SOP will ensure that agents are able to fulfill their roles even without the presence of the manager. Additionally, the policy should include restrictions on remote work and working hours for your employees so service can continue without any noticeable interruptions.
In general, policies should be set in place to ensure that all agents are courteous and polite and must also provide accurate information, whether it is requested or not.
DO use social media to connect with customers
One of the most significant benefits of a remote customer service system is that you will be able to keep customers informed without them having to contact you. You can give your customers an early heads-up when something great is coming up by using social media tools like Twitter and Facebook. You should also be able to send personalized and time-sensitive alerts through your customer service system, and you should encourage employees to use it to help resolve customer complaints and mitigate their impact.
DO conduct virtual training
You might not have the time or resources to train each customer service representative. If this is the case, you can create a virtual environment for them to improve their skills and become more knowledgeable about your products—simply simplify resource management by allowing agents to educate themselves from any location with essential information such as guidelines or how- to’s.
DO embrace technology and use it to your advantage
The stakes are high when it comes to customer service. To maintain strong relationships with your customers and employees alike, make sure you’ve got everything covered by incorporating remote workers into the company culture. In this digital era of internet and social media connectivity, your customers want to be able to reach out at any time with a question or concern about their purchase. But in order for them to feel like they can contact you when it’s convenient for them, you need modern support software.
DO find a support platform that has all of the required features
To manage remote customer service jobs successfully, you’ll need to establish a system that can assist you:
- Manage client tickets and contact information.
- Have a single email address for each customer.
- Ensure your employees are accessible via all of your clients’ preferred communication channels.
- Connect customers by phone, text, email, and chat.
- Quickly respond to tickets that demand immediate attention, but avoid spamming users.
- Allow for immediate notifications.
To be successful at managing your daily tasks you’ll need to implement a system that can help track the progress of all correspondence with past customers as well as keep up on any pending projects for current or future clients.
DO increase your efficiency and productivity using tools and apps
With the rise of email, companies are finding new ways to stay in touch with their customers. With virtual agents and messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook messenger, your company can have a more direct connection than ever before.
The DON’Ts of Customer Service
DON’T make agreements you won’t be able to keep
In order to make an effective real-time connection with customers, there needs to be clarity from the start. That means not rushing things at first or making assumptions about expectations before they have been clearly defined between both sides (i.e., company and client), so that all employees know that they’re accountable and responsible for what they’re able to do.
DON’T seclude your agents
When you work at home, it’s common to feel socially separated from the rest of the world. So, start by creating a more supportive environment for your customer service agents, make sure to encourage and facilitate calls between them. Working in this line of work can be very emotionally taxing so it is vital that you allow time for them to check in with each other during the first weeks or months on the job.
DON’T lose communication
Being able to check in with agents from time to time is the best way for you and your team to build trust. Before they start their day, it’s essential that we know what issues have come up since the last contact so that we can provide support or any other updates as needed. If there are any conflicts at hand, then a quick chat might be all someone needs before going back to work. It also helps us keep tabs on how everything is being done out there.
By using the right tools to create a virtual working environment for them, remote customer service is not only possible but profitable. Remote workers are able to take on more work by having an efficient and organized system in place with these awesome apps that keep employees better connected.