Part 1: Enabling Collaboration of Customer Support Teams in Remote Environments
“Right now, you as leaders have only one option: lead your way out of this challenge.” That’s what Mike Caracalas, leadership coach, executive consultant, and author of Ten Strategies to Get Better Results with People advised when we sat down with him last Spring. At that time, companies were scrambling to get their employees adapted to the remote work environments. It was new, exciting in both good and challenging ways. Add family members and kids in school, all working or studying from home, into the mix, and there have been quite a few adjustments! And at that time, we were all hoping it would be more of a short-term situation.
That was then.
Now, the majority of North American employers expect that most of their furloughed workers will not return to work until the end of the first quarter 2021, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). In fact, more workers will continue working from home on a permanent basis than before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a July survey of 283 large employers conducted by consultancy Willis Towers Watson.1 (The responding companies employ 4.4 million workers.)
Also according to SHRM, while employers expect to have significantly more remote workers in the future compared with last year, many have yet to develop policies to encourage working from home. The survey showed that just 2 in 10 respondents have provided tools and resources to employees who may work remotely long term, although two-thirds plan to or are considering doing so.2
With the prospects of perhaps permanent remote workforces, and with respect to customer service in particular, we feel like it’s more important than ever to revisit how to keep customer support teams engaged with each other and what tools will help enable collaboration and keep agents motivated and excited about providing excellent support to their customers.
Evaluagent, a call center quality monitoring software, reminds us that a major challenge that you'll face when managing a remote support team is maintaining that individual agent-level engagement but also that collective engagement as a team.3 You're not seeing each other every day, as you would if you were all working in the same office or center. We couldn’t agree more!
In Part 2 of this series we’ll offer tips on enabling collaboration and engagement among support team members, and looking ahead to Part 3, we’ll explore specific software solution tools that contribute to the same.
1 Retrieved from Willis Towers Watson, Oct. 9, 2020. https://www.willistowerswatson.com/en-US/Insights/2020/07/actions-to-restore-stability-survey
2Stephen Miller, Despite Reopenings, Many Employees Will Work Remotely into 2021 and Beyond. Retrieved from the Society of Human Resource Management, Oct. 9, 2020. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/despite-reopenings-many-employees-will-keep-working-remotely.aspx
3Reg Dutton, How to Motivate Remote Customer Support Teams. Retrieved from Evaluagent, Oct. 9, 2020. https://www.evaluagent.com/blog/how-to-motivate-remote-customer-support-teams