Achieving Success in a Remote Customer Service Environment
JULY 13, 2020
As organizations transition to virtual workplaces, most of us have experienced the rewards and challenges of working remotely, and the pressure to work efficiently and effectively is even higher.
When you manage a team in a service-minded business, you want to keep the focus of your representatives where it belongs – on the customer. I understand how this can be challenging when trying to navigate through rapid change and adapting to a new and uncharted environment.
Here are some tips I use to keep my team motivated and customer-focused while working remotely:
Offer encouragement and emotional support
Employees need support in order to stay motivated, productive, and engaged, and while many are working from home for the first time, the out-of-office work environment can be a challenge.
Remember, whatever you’re doing successfully to support your team in the office can also be done virtually; recognition, one on one meetings, team huddles; keeping things consistent is key to alleviating the anxiety that some employees might be feeling about change.
Find out what types of challenges your team members are facing while working remotely. I like to do this through virtual meetings or online surveys and then sharing my plans on how I’m going to help them overcome challenges. By keeping your team informed, you’re also keeping them engaged.
Recognize the importance of delegating
Managers who lead large teams have to accept that they can’t do everything on their own. Delegating successfully means that you have to trust your team leads to do what’s expected, and this starts with choosing the right people to lead, setting expectations, and having a clear plan on how to meet those expectations.
I make time to connect with my team leads daily, and I give them the freedom to create and execute their own plans for achieving team goals. What better way to motivate people than to empower them to do it themselves?
I also encourage our agents to take the lead on coming up with ways to stay motivated. For example, our Motivation Team is responsible for team building activities specific to goals like continuous learning or support, weekly team building activities, and meditation.
Communicate regularly and consistently
Although it’s always preferable to establish clear remote-work policies in advance, this level of preparation is not always feasible in times of rapid change. Be honest with your team about what’s happening in the organization, and keep raising the bar for the quality of customer service you expect them to deliver.
I share a communications schedule in advance with my team, and I make sure to establish clear goals and objectives for all communication. I let my team know what I’m doing to hold myself accountable so that they can follow my lead.
Employees need to know that you’re there for them and that you trust them to meet their requirements. It’s important to have clear expectations and talk about performance in order to maintain consistency and accountability.
I ask myself regularly if my team members have a sense of ownership of their job. Have I given them the tools that they need to succeed? And if they’re not meeting their objectives, what can or my team leads do to help them get back on track?
When team members feel empowered to achieve their goals, I feel confident that our customers are receiving the highest possible level of service every time they do business with us.
By Rebeca Lopez
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