Part 2: Enabling Collaboration of Customer Support Teams in Remote Environments
In Part 1 of this blog series, we introduced why 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.
Now in Part 2, we dive into tips for enabling collaboration and engagement among support team members.
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.1 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!
Let’s revisit an excerpt from an interview we did with Mike Caracalas, leadership coach, executive consultant, and author of Ten Strategies to Get Better Results with People. We asked, How can a support leader help keep things fresh as the feeling of being cooped up may start affecting individuals personally, and consequently impact their work?
“Don’t be afraid to lighten things up! You don’t have to have your nose to the grindstone all the time or expect your people to. Many workplaces these days are encouraging balance, even have game rooms and nap rooms available—encourage the same at home.
"As a leader, you can facilitate fun group things to do together on video conferencing, like: Dress up your pet and choose a team mascot; apply an interesting or silly backdrop in their home workspace; introduce your roommates, or your kids, or significant others in a meeting. Most important, have a few check-ins every week where you don’t talk about business, rather a general fun dialogue.
"Also, make sure people feel included and heard. These sorts of check-ins might allow the introverts on the team to participate more than they would in person. It’s easier to facilitate input from all voices when you’re asking everyone specifically on a video or conference call.”
Encourage collaboration with your customers. Juliet Rizek from The Call Center School makes a great point. "Your reps are likely communicating with customers more than their co-workers. Though it can be hard to deal with customer issues, a great technique is to encourage your employees to collaborate with customers.
"Instead of feeling “alone” or isolated from colleagues, empower your team to seek guidance from your customers. Encourage your frontline associates to understand customers’ goals and motivations in order to work toward a common goal. Agents should feel confident to ask questions, show empathy, and build a friendly rapport with customers."
Working towards common goals will grow employee satisfaction, create trust with your customers, lower agent frustration, and de-escalate customer issues.2
This type of customer collaboration will also make for good stories that agents can share in your weekly check-ins!
Working from home can feel like Groundhog Day at times. We’ve all experienced that! With your support agents, be mindful that you don’t want them to slip into stagnation. In addition to weekly check-ins to offer opportunities to be heard and empowering them to collaborate with customers on their goals, create opportunities and plans for growth. Working one-on-one with your support agents to establish professional development tools and classes, as well as a step-by-step plan will give them something to work towards, and more importantly, to look forward to. That can go a long way in energizing these valuable individuals. And that energy will come across in customer interactions.
We’ll conclude our series with Parts 3 and 4, where we’ll explore specific software solution tools that enable collaboration among customer support team members and between agent and customer.
1Reg 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
2Juliet Rizek, How to Keep Your Remote Agents Happy & Motivated. May 19, 2020. Retrieved from The Call Center School, Oct. 9, 2020. https://blog.thecallcenterschool.com/how-to-keep-your-remote-agents-happy-motivated