The Challenges of Handling a Remote Customer Service Team

By James Mellor posted 07-06-2021 23:55

  

Few companies had made a move to create a remote customer service team pre-pandemic. However, when the Covid-19 reality struck and stay-at-home orders came into effect, it became a reality for many overnight. And it was not as easy as dispatching customer service team members home with a computer to work from home.

Indeed, there is much more to it than that, as some companies have learned to their detriment. Here are some of the challenges of managing a remote customer service team and suggestions to overcome them:

Tracking productivity

Companies soon discovered that monitoring customer service employees online was more challenging than they had imagined. Added to this problem was a spike in workload and support requests from customers. However, using technology fromhttps://www.dial800.com/solutions/call-tracking/ that offers digital call tracking to monitor call performance data and analytics made a significant difference.

Such systems make it easier for employers to have some measure of control over what their remote service team members are doing. It furthermore allows them to ensure that they get a great return on investment (ROI) on their agents’ salaries.  

Productivity is influenced by how staff members are feeling. During the early months of uncertainty, many customer service agents struggled with motivation, leading them to underperform. While employers want to be sympathetic in such situations, they still need to keep the required work out of their agents.  

Distractions

Many customer service agents did not have work from home space available and had to improvise one at short notice. Not all such areas were ideal, given that they might have been at the dining room or kitchen table, in the heart of the home with plenty of distractions at hand. Homeschooling children and spouses also in need of work from home space exacerbated this issue.

Employers recommendnoise-canceling hardware and software to allow agents to work without sound interruptions. They also advise agents on managing their work from home situation by offering flexi-hours and other concessions that let agents fit tasks around their schedule.

Stressed-out customers

Frustrated customers only make things worse for a remote customer service agent. They are already working under different pressure conditions, as mentioned above. Having irate clients screaming at them for things beyond their control only makes it worse. Most companies saw an increase in canceled orders, demands for refunds, and payment deferments.

Agents sometimes talk to each other to decompressafter a tough phone call, which is impossible when they are not in an office together. Employers that create a forum where workers can share their experiences and commiserate found agents more willing to keep working through tough times and have developed new material for future training programs.

Increased call volumes

With so many calls coming in and not enough agents, many companies thought their options were limited to hiring more staff. However, those who started automating some processes found this approach equally successful.

Chatbots that answer FAQs and allow customers to track their orders or request a callback have reduced the number of calls that require interaction with an agent. Installing live chat options also reduces how many telephonic conversations are necessary.

Software changes

Implementing new software solutions like live chat and chatbots can be challenging from a training perspective. When customer service agents are scattered and cannot gather centrally for training, it can become frustrating. Indeed, any professional development is made more complex by having a remote team.

Using videos, webinars, and downloadable instruction manuals, many companies have overcome this obstacle. Their employees can access these materials, get the knowledge they need, and contact a manager at the company for further assistance if necessary.

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