5 Brilliant Ways to Keep Remote Customer Support Team Productive and Engaged
The trend for hiring remote teams that fill the specific business role of customer support is certainly on the rise. This is because a remote customer support team might allow to achieve bigger time zone coverage and expand the market you want to reach. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that, nowadays, the question of survival in the competitive world is determined by utilizing the opportunities of global integration.
Though the justification of remote employment has been questioned more than once, the truth is working remotely or locally does not define productivity. In the field of customer support, you can find both low performing co-located teams and high performing remote teams and vice versa.
Hence, if you are a happy employer who took the decision to optimize the office work and expand your marketing opportunities, it is much more important to look into the issue of enhancing your remote team’s performance. You have to find the best ways to increase their productivity and make sure to keep them engaged.
Here are five sure ways that will help your remote team achieve good results.
Finding the Right People
The most effective way to keep your employees productive and in sync with your working schedule is to recruit the right people. Test your prospective employees and try to identify their work style. A remote employee is one who demonstrates the following qualities:
- ability to monitor productivity
- working without the immediate presence of colleagues or supervisors
- understanding that working remotely helps create a good work-life balance.
The results upon the interview must show that the employee has these qualities. This is because they should feel productive and comfortable while working remotely.
As we know, team success attributes to three Cs, which are collaboration, cooperation, and communication. Most people assume that the remote employees do not mind lack of communication available at the office throughout the day and will not feel deprived of benefits that presence at the office might seem to have. But, communication is a key point to effective teamwork. So, the employer should pay special attention to providing for the unbroken communication within the remote team.
It is also highly recommended that your customer support representatives have had some prior experience of remote work. After all, building a work culture around remote employment can takes weeks or months. So unless your hiring decisions are urgent, opt for a candidate with the relevant record of remote work as skipping long training process will certainly pay off.
Train Your Employees on Time Management
Time is the most precious asset we have. There are 168 hours in a week for everybody and it is up to you to decide how to use them. When the border between workplace and home literally disappears, time-management skills get crucial. Add to it the necessity of adjustment to time zone difference, and you will understand the utter importance of the proper time distribution.
The good news is that there are lots of informative resources1 in regard to time management. Send your team visuals and tutorials of how to organize their working time. The first step that must be taken is to distribute the time according to two criteria: urgency and importance of the task.
The ratio between urgency and importance was defined by brilliant Gary Halbert in his Boron Letters in the form of four types of problems.
- Urgent and important (SOS-situation);
- Not urgent and important (You have the deadline but not today so you can either postpone doing it or get down to it);
- Urgent but not important (Checking emails, replying to networking requests)
- Not urgent and not important (Checking the social media posts and browsing the news).
Advise your employees to prioritize the second type of tasks (though important not yet urgent) as it will help them track of their schedule and stay organized. This way, proper training can help your remote team remain focused and time-conscious.
Highlight the Pros of the Remote Work
Technology has played a major role in making distance favorable to brands. This has resulted in an increase in the numbers of remote working employees. The 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey3 shows that 64% millennials prefer flexible working. It is confirmed by the fact that many well-known companies such as Apple and Amazon are moving towards allowing their teams to be home-base employed.
And, in order to create a successful remote support team, it is important to make them understand that remote working has lots of perks:
- remote employees have the bigger freedom in exercising work-private life balance;
- remote employment means that the employee does not have to stress over observing the dress code;
- working off-site also means that there are no office hours;
- the remote worker does not have to commute, which means not only saving time but cost on transportation;
- joining the remote team means that the employee will surely enhance his/her communication technology skills.
Use a Time Management Software
In the case of remote employment, time management software is the best solution for the following problems :
- checking on time allocation regardless of the team location;
- collecting the data on performance (due to the option of generating reports while you are tracking time);
- storing the data on work time for differentiating between billable and non-billable hours and issuing payrolls.
Besides, time tracking seems like the ideal means of fighting distractions. The employees get aware that they are to be in total control of the working process. The metrics supervise the employees’ time, which creates healthy pressure and boosts their energy for better performance. This eventually would reflect not only on their productivity but also on their income.
Appoint a Supervisor for Assistance
The role of a supervisor is to assist the remote employees and help them with setting short-term goals.
The time tracking programs provide insights into the productivity of support engineer and notify if there is a sudden decrease in employee’s productivity. The supervisor would have the opportunity to spot the problem and help the remote specialist work more productively. This way, the lack of onsite interaction can be compensated with regular updates without affecting the overall productivity.
To Wrap it Up
You will have a successful remote customer support if you hire people tailored for working off office and provide for their communication as team members. It is certain that your remote team performs well only in case they know the basics of time-management and apply it to the working routine.
While working remotely, employees take full charge of their workflow so the employer should let them control their productivity and have incentives in case they address their work efficiently.
To facilitate this process, the employer can assist his team by applying the time tracking software. Last but not least, it is important that the remote team should work in close connection with a supervisor that will contribute to customer support work by taking responsibility for monitoring your team performance.
1 — https://www.linkedin.com/learning/topics/time-management-3
2 — https://www.amazon.com/Boron-Letters-Gary-C-Halbert/dp/1484825985
3 — https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/gx-deloitte-millennial-survey-2017-executive-summary.pdf