Best Practices for Customer Support While Remote
Working remotely brings with it a lot of benefits for businesses. You’ll save money on office space and your employees will be more productive. Many of your existing processes though, may need to be modified to adapt to the new way of business.
One key area for any business is customer support. Or as we call it at AchieveIt, customer success.
Managing remote customer support can seem difficult. With the right tools and processes in place, it can be a breeze. In this post, we’ll identify some steps you should take to ensure stellar customer support in a remote work environment.
Increase the Usage of Video
In most in-office environments, video conferencing is used sparingly. For some reason, many companies opt for audio calls, chat, and screen shares as primary methods of communication with customers.
As AchieveIt has increased remote work, our team has embraced the use of video. And we aren’t just using it internally. As many customers are now forced to work remotely, we’ve increased video conferencing with customers.
While some may be reluctant to share their camera, many are happy to share. And that immediate face to face interaction has helped build stronger relationships. Even in cases where the client chooses to keep their camera off, sharing your camera can help boost customer/vendor relationships.
Although video conferencing isn’t generally needed for customer support, find ways to use it more. An easy way to begin is to replace the in-person interactions with video and grow from there.
While it may sound strange, being human is critically important in supporting customers. Especially amidst a global pandemic, being human and relatable can help build trust and relationships.
Many people have been there before. They’ve had the dogs barking at the garbage truck, the kids crying from the next room over, and the WiFi connection issues. Don’t stress if these situations happen to you, and sympathize with customers when it happens to them.
When you are connecting with customers, leverage the positive and uncomfortable situations to become relatable. Being relatable can help break down the wall of “customer” vs “vendor” to two humans discussing key business outcomes. This will lead to a more open relationship, enabling you to learn more about your customers and assist them better in the future.
Track Customer Success KPIs
As you make the transition to remote work, measure how well your team is adapting to the change. Using analytics tools to track key metrics will help you make those judgments. Here are a few metrics to help track the effectiveness of your customer team.
- Response time — In a remote work environment, observing phone calls and response time is more difficult. Response time is always an important metric to track, but for remote work, it provides insight into how employees are adapting to change.
- Resolution time — Nobody likes waiting on answers to questions, particularly ones that prevent customers from achieving their goals. Track the time it takes from a customer’s initial request to the final communication that resolves the issue for them. While this metric is always important, an increase in time while remote may identify areas of improvement with communication and problem-solving.
- Net promoter score — Your net promoter score is similar to your customer satisfaction score. It’s a number that is derived from customer feedback. It helps measure how likely it is for your customer base to recommend your product or service.
Monitor for any changes in these KPIs while remote, and implement changes as needed. based on customer type.
Use Customer Support Software
If you aren’t using purpose-built customer support software yet, now may be the time to switch. While many software solutions ease remote work, ones specific to customer success can make collaboration and support easier.
In addition to a CRM, consider what other tools your team can leverage. Leverage platforms like Zendesk to track and manage customer support tickets and bugs. For more proactive management, leverage tools like Gainsight or Akita to manage customer health and engagement. If you work in SaaS, leverage tools like Pendo and FullStory to guide customers through the platform and collect feedback on areas they may be struggling with.
Identify any other tools that companies in your industry leverage for customer support. Having the right customer support tech stack will promote strong support and guidance.
Create a Knowledge Base for Customers and Staff
If you don’t already have one in place, switching to remote work is a perfect reason to set up a knowledge base for your customers. Knowledge bases are repositories of tutorials, tips and tricks, training videos, onboarding information, FAQs, and other material that can help customers self-serve any questions. A strong knowledge base will reduce their dependency on support staff, decreasing workload.
It is also helpful to create an internal knowledge base for staff members to use. Within the office, it is easy to turn to the person next to you and ask for help. Working remotely, your staff may be more hesitant asking questions. A good knowledge base will allow them to get the information they need to assist customers with less reliance on their coworkers.
If you already have one or both, consider what improvements to make to your existing material.
Focus on Strategy
With everyone working remotely, strong leadership can be difficult. And without an eye on the overall strategy, motivation, and purpose can wane. Don’t forget to emphasize your organizational strategy, and the team’s purpose in executing. Find ways to easily collect updates and report on company progress.
Software like AchieveIt will allow you to keep your entire customer support team in the loop, engaged, and aware of every step that needs to be taken.
Maintain a Strong Company Culture
Even though they are now far apart, your staff must still function together as a team if you are to maintain your same standard of service. There are many adjustments you can make to keep a strong company culture while remote. Besides company-wide initiatives, ensure team-specific bonding occurs to keep the team motivated and happy. Many customer interactions are a direct reflection of an employee’s engagement and strong company culture can go a long way.
Making the move to remote work will always take some adjustment, but with proper planning, good tools, and the right attitude, the adjustment period can be much easier. Keep a close eye on your customer support KPIs during the transition and act quickly when anything moves in the wrong direction. Quick adjustments will help solve problems before bad habits take over.
There’s no reason that customer engagement should dip in a remote work environment. Following these tips and increasing focus on customer support while remote can help boost customer engagement and satisfaction.
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