by: Mary Christine Galang
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 |
There are no hard and fast rules on training remote customer support agents. There are varying factors, challenges, and requirements for each business to consider, but there are crucial points to consider not just to ensure effectiveness but also to empower your team and maintain work-life balance.
Some of the advantages of having remote customer support services include expanding your talent pool, producing a lower overhead, and increasing productivity. According to a 2014 study from the Quarterly Journal of Economics, remote working led to a 13% increase in performance. A well-trained remote customer support team can do more.
Here are a few pointers on how to efficiently and effectively train your team:
Take advantage of cloud support
This key process doesn’t end with training. In fact, it will be crucial on operating your remote support team. Traditional means of communication like emails have their own limits. Cloud-based project management tools are essential for data storage, security, organization, and accessibility anytime, anywhere. Orienting your team early on with how these tools work will smoothen out the process, work out the kinks, and establish guidelines and parameters for projects, procedures, and other work-related tasks. Test out multiple time and project management and/or tracker software or applications like Toggl, Asana, or Trello and find out what works best for you.
This is a collaborative step to identify and designate roles to each team member. Discuss the objectives, expectations, and requirements with them and brainstorm on how each one and the group as a whole can work optimally. In addition, this also builds rapport among the team. Individual tasks should be detail-specific and must complement each team member’s. Ultimately, this will provide a helpful overview for reference. Mapping out workflows lessens chances of redundancy, delays, and errors. Laying out objectives and establishing goals as clearly as possible also allow team members to monitor their work progress, which in turn, makes it easier to manage the team subsequently.
Knowing your audience
Ensuring that your support team is properly oriented with your audience enables them to understand and better communicate with the audience. Learn who your customers are. Do you have a multinational clientele? Distinguish the differences of one customer from another, in order to address their needs accurately, even anticipate it and provide insight to improve your service. Having this kind of insight helps your team provide services that will match customer expectations.
It goes without saying that communication is a key factor in training, especially with a remote team. Communications channels should be set up properly on Day 1 to familiarize your team with each other. Team communication tools like Google Hangout, Skype, and Slack offers a variety of options and integrations not only limited to engagement but also to help make work processes easier. If one doesn’t work, try another early on to avoid lapses in communication in the future.
Provide feedback and support
Training is, in many ways, a form of mentorship. You will be dispensing knowledge and advice for a limited amount of time, helping your team maximize their talents and skills and translate them into a mutually beneficial growth – professionally and financially. According to The New York Times, the attrition rate of remote staff are 50% lower. There’s a reason behind that. Work-life balance is better. More remote customer support personnel claims they are “happier,” and companies should keep it that way – even make it better. But this also means oversight should always be exercised at all times. Keep your team updated on new techniques and methods, software and tools that not only make their work efficient but also as competitive as their office-based counterparts.
Provide constructive feedback and support to your team. Address concerns accordingly and work with team members when creating solutions. A side-by-side or buddy system is a helpful, ‘trial’ session before fully immersing your team with the actual work. It can also identify areas of improvement early on.