Tips to Improve the Productivity of Support Agents Working Remotely
COVID-19 has created an enormous shift in workloads around the world. Managers across
industries are struggling to navigate the impact of the pandemic on their organizations. Still, there’s no single formula that will work across a firm, as each department is impacted differently. During all this, customer service teams have had it quite rough in terms of handling fluctuating (often increasing) call volumes while working remotely. Besides handling increasing call volumes, customer service reps are also facing challenges like anxious, emotionally charged customers and the absence of familiar infrastructure and peer support as they work remotely. This article wraps up tips to Improve the Productivity of Support Agents Working Remotely.
The Digital Shift
As the pandemic continues its spread, businesses are struggling to stay afloat while ensuring the safety of their employees as well as customers. The result is a rapid digital shift fueled by the remote-working protocols put in place by many organizations to ensure work continuity.
If you are thinking in terms of numbers, a May 2020 survey of 25,000+ global employees by Global Workplace Analytics revealed that more than 80% of the respondents are working from home regularly, at least one day per week during the pandemic, compared to only 31% in the past. However, most teams’ productivity remains a concern due to lack of personal interactions for collaboration, adaptation to new technology, and distractions like children and pets in a work from home environment.
Customer Experience During the Pandemic
Many people are feeling disconnected, lonely, and stressed out during the pandemic. As a result, the customer experience during the crisis is centered on empathy and human interactions. This also means that customer service staff needs to be extra sensitive and intuitive towards customers’ needs and strive to solve issues even before they arise. Whether it is offering omnichannel and real-time support using live chat software, creating a helpful
knowledgebase to enable quick troubleshooting for customers, or revamping the onboarding process to suit the digital environment – brands need to empower their customer service agents with the right tools and technology to create delightful digital experiences.
Below, we have shared four tips to boost your customer experience and improve the productivity of your customer support teams during the pandemic (Improve the Productivity of Support Agents Working Remotely):
1. Use Live Chat Software For Real-Time Support
Fast and reliable service is the cornerstone of exceptional customer experience. However, the coronavirus outbreak has led to so much uncertainty, increasing the burden on customer
service agents, which could be challenging to handle without automation software.
Besides, most customer service agents are working from home, putting additional pressure on their ability to respond to customers swiftly and effectively. Empowering your customer service team with live chat software can increase their efficiency
tremendously while improving personalization, too. The software can be integrated with all your customer touchpoints to kill the wait time and enable real-time support with added functionalities
like cobrowsing, and voice and video calls. Modern live chat software does not require any additional plug-ins and offers an intuitive interface that agents can use without any training. Further integrations with existing CRM and helpdesk software enable straightforward and efficient ticket management and personalized conversations powered by the information stored in your CRM.
Besides live chat, it is also good to deploy a chatbot for 24/7 service and reduce your employees’ workload. Chatbots can answer up to 80% of repetitive queries and improve with usage, freeing up your support team to handle more complicated questions.
2. Enable Digital Onboarding for New Users
Developing an excellent product is not enough to please users. It is also vital to onboard them properly to use the product or service correctly to experience all the promised benefits. Before the pandemic, onboarding customers was quite simple. You could fix a meeting, plan a demo or small group training, and voila!
Unfortunately, the pandemic has put an end to face-to-face meetings for now, and all customer-facing processes must be aligned to this change. Even before COVID-19, there was already a shift towards digital onboarding, as it is more cost-effective and engaging. Thus, if you truly wish to revolutionize your customer experience, develop an immersive onboarding process to amaze your users. One idea is to prepare online video tutorials and share them on your website to help users understand your product or service better. Such videos would also help expand your knowledge base and be used by your support agents to guide customers seamlessly.
Here’s a smooth onboarding flow you can use to connect with customers during the pandemic
(and beyond) and make an impression:
- Draft a crisp yet compelling Welcome Email to kick off your relationship with a customer positively. You may thank them for their purchase, share some resources for onboarding, and reassure them of continued support.
- If you have a user-facing app, use a greeting message or an in-app welcome message to greet users on the first login and request them to set up an account.
- Next, use an optional video tutorial to simplify the product set-up. You may also use UI features like tip banners and interactive walkthroughs to introduce important features to new users.
- Your agents can use cobrowsing technology to elevate the onboarding process through interactive, on-screen product demos, and troubleshooting support.
3. Conduct Online Training Sessions for Support Agents
No human is an island, and individuals are feeling extremely isolated during the pandemic. Work from home has deepened this issue by eliminating regular office interactions and banter. Besides, the transition to work from home has happened in an extremely short period, without any proper training for support agents.
However, as companies adjust to the new normal in the post-pandemic era, it is also the time to invest in employee experience in addition to customer experience. Some of the ideas include regular online training sessions, leadership talks via video meetings, and the introduction of collaborative tools and software to make life simpler for your customer support agents. While you prepare learning systems for new hires, also create modules for existing employees to keep them current on new products and services and soft skills.
4. Invest in Self-Service
According to data, 8 out of 10 customers prefer to troubleshoot on their own before reaching out
to a customer service agent – indicating the importance of self-service portals. Even before the
pandemic hit us, there was a significant movement towards enabling self-help resources for customers. However, in the post-pandemic era, the concept has become much more relevant owing to the efficiency of time and resources involved.
We recommend that you start by collecting all your existing resources and arrange them methodically so that users can find them easily. Next, you can start building in-depth FAQs, video tutorials, case studies, etc., to guide users around your product or service. It is also a good idea to create communities around users. This allows users to share common problems in a secure forum and find answers to their questions on their own.
At present, nobody knows until when the pandemic and the associated changes in the work culture are going to continue. However, remote working may remain in place for a long time, even in the post-pandemic era, considering the other advantages, like cost and resource optimization. Meanwhile, it is on business leaders to formulate effective strategies to keep their customers and employees engaged for better business outcomes. Are there any innovative strategies you have employed to boost the productivity and engagement of your customer-facing staff? Let us know your thoughts about “Tips to Improve the Productivity of Support Agents Working Remotely” in the comment section below.